out in sake stores. They provided sake and small dishes go with sake
on the premises for their customers. But in recent years, it is getting more and more difficult to find small chef-owned Izakayas. These are replaced by "chain" izakayas like you see here in Ginza. The chain stores are not all bad and come in many different levels from cheap to expensive. They are aimed at different clientele. In general, the food is fairly uniform (probably the majority being prepared in a central kitchen or factory). The chain stores are characterized by plastic laminated menus depicting the food in color pictures--somewhat similar to American fast food restaurants.
Recently, we came across very interesting book called "Izakaya. The Japanese Pub Cookbook" by Mark Robinson. He was born in Tokyo and grew up in Sidney but now lives in Tokyo for some time. We are impressed that he really understood and captured all the essence of Izakaya we love. I do not know how many people who read this will try to make dishes in this book. I have already made many of the regular Izakaya affaires (called "teiban" or 定番) but was also inspired by this book. We communicated via email and Mark was kind enough to share his extra copy of the book which is considered in Japan as the bible of Izakaya exploration by Kazuhiko Ohta.
My intention is not to prepare dishes in this book. "Making-all-dishes-in-a-cookbook-and-blog-about-it" appears to be very popular activities among food bloggers ("Julie and Julia", even made it to a movie). I just wanted to share some of our Izakaya-inspired dishes, which my wife and I enjoy from time to time.