Anniversary Sale
Usaya Shimokitazawa

Update May 10, 2012: This location has since closed. 

Shimokitazawa is hands down my favorite part of Tokyo. It's teeming with youth and the elderly, shopping for knick knacks in a part of Tokyo that has no high-rise buildings -- preserving a quaintness that is absent in the major hubs of the city like Shibuya or Shinjuku.

Usaya, located in Shimokitazawa, is a small country-style izakaya that serves dishes compiled with organic ingredients in fabulous Japanese dishware purchased from fleamarkets. It opened two years ago under Shimokitazawa station.

Exterior:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Interior:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

My husband and I decided to throw our wedding after-party celebration at Usaya. We asked the owner beforehand if he could serve a large crowd of 17 people at ¥5,000 a head (with unlimited drinks). The result was a bunch of dishes that were perfect for a mid-December Saturday.

Anko nabe:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Soumen and Mozuku:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Tai:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Dried fish jerky:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Fried shrimp:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Persimmon, figs, blueberries, yogurt, spinach salad:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Oden:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Party members:

Usaya Shimokitazawa

Usaya Shimokitazawa

The food at Usaya is quite impressive because no matter how much you eat, you never feel sick at the end of the night. It's not overly salty or oily. The attention to ingredients is also noticeable in all their menu items, as they serve dishes that bring out the texture and color of each food.

But what really makes Usaya stand out is the service. The staff are naturally helpful and friendly, something so rare in the white-gloved, robotic world of service in Tokyo.

USAYA
2-24-14 Kitazawa
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
T: 080-3158-4613
Column: Tokyo JUNKtion
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2 comments

  • Been there two times with you, Yoko and it was always super nice.
    Also, the cool thing about this place is that because of its quite small space and the long, shared tables, it invites the guests to talk to each other and socialize.

    Something you rarely see in a city where people never talk to strangers and always go out in small groups and stay inside them all night, avoiding any unscheduled meetups with new people.

    Here in Copenhagen I really miss the Izakaya idea of just sitting around w friends, relaxing, drinking and ordering small dishes which everyone digs into and share. Instead of either a chiché burger w potatoes at the local café or fine French dining.

    I hope at least you and Kayoko will bring that tokyo vibe to Cali sometime in the exotic future!

    Anders on

  • omg the fried shrimp!!! i love it!!!

    kayoko on

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