While I am a knowledgeable traveler and very good with the ins and outs of travel points, point churning, and the points game, Jen is a truly amazing at finding hidden gem restaurants for us to try. While spending Valentines weekend in San Jose at Juniper Hotel a Curio Collection by Hilton, Jen found several great hole in the wall spots to try. Dan Izakaya is not a typical Japanese resturuant and featured the best seafood ramen I have ever had, along with several very interesting and delicious dished.
Location and Wait
Dan Izakaya is located in San Jose, in a small plaza with little signage outside. The area is not too busy and there is plenty of parking in the plaza. Dan Izakaya is located at the end of a row of shops in this plaza. The restaurant is on the smaller size, and contains both table and bar seating. I would suggest table seating as the experience in more private and you have more space for all the delicious foods you will be order. When Jen and I arrived, the spot was completely packed. Luckily we were able to snag a table within 15 minutes. Wait times for the 6-8 person bar area was faster, but we opted for our own table.
Dan Izakaya has a large menu with a large selection of sushi and sashimi dishes, a selection of grilled meats and yakitori (meat on skewers), and stone pot rice. The meat and yakitori selection was very interesting and had over 30 different choices. The sushi menu was equivalent to that of a typical sushi joint, the yakitori and specialties selection led to a variety of options. In addition, the appetizer and noodles choices were also fairly large, with a majority of the options being seafood based. With a such a large menu, there were so many dishes I wanted to try out.
Sadly, Jen and I could only order a couple of appetizers and 2 entree type dishes. We opted for grilled beef, Salmon carpaccio, clam ramen, and claypot rice with uni. All of the dishes were excellent. The grilled beef was appetizer sizes and had the same smokiness of yakitori meat, but also a buttery juiciness with each bit. The Salmon carpaccio was a combination of thinly sliced salmon sashimi, thin slices of avocado, micro greens, and ikura(salmon roe) covered in a slightly sweet soy marinade. The dish had a nice balance of natural fattiness from the salmon and avocado and an umami bomb of the sweet marinade and salted ikura. The claypot rice with Uni was a recommend pic. Uni(sea urchin) is one of the rarer sushi ingredients and is an acquired taste. Uni is extremely buttery and I really enjoy uni sushi. Finally, the clam ramen was phenomenal. One of the best seafood ramens I have ever eaten, the ramen had a miso based broth that intensived the delicious flavors of clam. The bowl came with noodles that were on the soggier side, but had absorbed a healthly dose of the delicious clam broth. This was my favorite part of the meal, while Jen’s favorite dish was the salmon carpaccio. Both dishes were a big hit, and we will be looking to return in the near future.
A hole in wall, Dan Izakaya has a large menu, with several unique dishes. This spot is small and brings a nice cozy feeling while serving food that packs a ton of umami. The place is typically packed around dinner time on weekends so expect a wait. Jen and I thoroughly enjoyed eating at this spot and were amazed at the quality and taste of the dishes. Until next time!