What is your favorite little restaurant in your neighborhood that you can go to any day for a quick date? For F and I, it used to be a Mediterranean place but that closed own recently and now our spot is Shigezo Sushi Izakaya and Sushi. Shigezo is a Japanese restaurant that has a large menu that can make omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten free all happy. They offer sushi, but I particulalry love their rice bowls, grilled items, and ramen. I even find room to squeeze in desserts. Here are some of our favorite dishes.
For the vegetarian and vegans out there, here’s a starter for you from the happy hour menu: Deep fried tofu in hot soy broth, or the Temaki, or hand roll of the Veggie Roll with avocado, cucumber, shiso leaf, daikon sprouts, yamagobo, and sesame seeds.
Shigezo has a Robata Grill, so you can order individual skewers like these – Thigh, Breast, Pork Belly, Quail Egg and Bacon, and Flank Steak skewers. Thankfully, Shigezo has much more space so you won’t be elbow to elbow and in a cloud of smoke like the typical hole in the wall izakaya in an alley in Tokyo! They have about a dozen skewers so not as many as an in izakaya, but half are meat and half are vegetables so they are great appetizers before your meal. Or just order skewers as a snack accompaniment to drinks like beer or sake, which is what most people do in Japan. The skewers are part of the happy hour menu!
They also have a handful of teppan grill items not on skewers, such as Grilled Chicken Thigh with choice of Yakitori sauce or Shio Dare (it doesn’t look like much, but the crunchy pieces of chicken are delish) and my favorite, squid such as Grilled Squid Legs (available for happy hour) or the Grilled Drunk Squid, a grilled squid marinated with soy sauce, mirin and sugar over night, both are served with mayo and chili pepper.
Another hole in the wall type of food I sometimes crave is Tempura. In Japan, there are some small restaurants that only do tempura, and you can choose stick by stick what you want. At Shigezo you have the option of vegetables usually on a specials menu (such as kabocha squash) or the classic shrimp and I usually just go for Shrimp Tempura.
Japanese curry with rice donburi is super comforting. Often Japanese curries have meat, but at Shigezo they also have a Japanese Vegetable Curry that is vegan with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, carrots, and onion in mild brown curry with shredded cabbage over rice. They have this on the dinner and happy hour menu.
For the omnivore, the curry I prefer is the Chicken Katsu Curry, a panko fried chicken breast on top of beef curry with shredded cabbage and rice.
For the omnivore who wants something lighter then curry, I really like the Shigezo Kitchen special of Seafood Takikomi Don, a Japanese style rice bowl dish cooked with soy sauce, mirin, eringi and and enoki mushrooms and topped with crab, salmon roe, and shiso leaf
They have delicious ramen with broth, but I also like something unusual that you don’t always see at ramen places – Abu Ramen. All year round, they have Abu Ramen or Udon – your choice of ramen or udon noodles, tossed in house shiodare, vegetable ramen base, garlic oil, chili paste and onion oil, topped with chashu pork, soft boiled egg, green onions, bean sprouts, tempura puffs and crispy wontons – can be made vegan or vegetarian by excluding the pork or egg.
For vegetarians and vegans, besides the Abu you can also get a broth noodle bowl. Here below you see the Shigezo Happy hour portion of Veggie Udon, which is vegan, with napa cabbage, green onion, shungiku, eringi, enoki, tempura puffs, and homemade udon noodles in a seaweed and soy broth.
Try to leave some room for dessert. Here you can find special dessert menu items, such as here Coconut Butter Mochi, a rich and delicate homemade Hawaiian style mochi cake served with your choice of vanilla, adzuki green tea or mango ice cream, or Goma Dango a dish with fried sesame balls filled with adzuki served with sweet potato chip and your choice of vanilla, adzuki green tea or mango ice cream
Do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant in your neighborhood, whether it be for yakitori or sushi or whatever, what is it?