I had the great pleasure of dining at Izakaya Den on Pearl Street in Denver this weekend. Opened by the same folks of the famed Sushi Den, I like the fact that they actually let you make reservations at this spot instead of waiting outside in line for one to two hours like you do at Sushi Den on most nights. I also like the variety of dishes they offer – from traditional sushi to a very eclectic east meets west fusion sort of thing. I always start with edamame…and it’s best when it’s got plenty of that large chunky sea salt on it.
Ahi tuna taken to a whole new level soaked in a chili marinade, topped with pickled onion and ginger and a mound of marinated sliced crimini mushrooms.
Tempura is best when it’s light – you should be able to see the vegetables through it and know it’s a carrot, or green bean, or shrimp. And it should be really hot and crispy.
They make great short ribs here – in a Korean marinade and served with sauteed green beans, oyster mushrooms and some sliced raw jalapenos for kick.
For my friend who really doesn’t like sushi, we ordered the California Roll – I was think this is like the first timer’s roll of choice – nothing raw, totally safe.
Now here’s a classic fusion type of dish – Hoisin Duck Wonton Tostadas with Iberico cheese, Latin forbidden rice, and cilantro crÃ¨me fraiche. I could have eaten this whole dish myself, but I had to fight my three dining companions for it.
Steamed dumplings are always a hit with my husband – and these were quite tender.
As if we hadn’t had enough food, we ordered a final entree – the Kobe beef sliders topped with thin slices of foie gras, served aside great fries.
This final morsel may look like a fried pork rind, but it’s actually a genius of a seasonal dessert – apple slices done tempura style, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar then served with some caramel sauce and creme anglaise for dipping. This is a fabulous dessert to pair with ice wine, which I did!