Tom Sietsema’s 7 favorite places to eat right now
If the operation sounds strict, it still holds great appeal. The prized seats are those at the counter, where patrons no longer sit knee to knee but still get to observe the chef up close. In true izakaya fashion, the menu, illustrated with Seki’s doodles, leans to snack-size plates meant to be washed back with drinks. (You can count on the restaurateur, a fan of wines from Burgundy and the Loire Valley, to steer you to something special.) A sniff of the air — clean, hot oil — is a siren call to anything fried: crisp silvery smelt, maybe, or soft-shell crabs, sweet of meat, served with ponzu sauce for dipping and as delectable as any I’ve had this year.