If there's one thing that Izakaya has already demonstrated since opening in August, it's that this is not your ordinary Japanese restaurant. Sure, there's sushi on the menu here (executive chef Manabu Horiuchi of Kata Robata fame wouldn't have it any other way, undoubtedly), but the thing to order at dinner isn't the sashimi—it's the curry fries. And the panko-crusted antelope meatballs. And scotch eggs with tender Texas quail tucked inside. And the Elvis in Tokyo for dessert. (Trust us.)
Needless to say, the new lunch service at Izakaya isn't your standard selection of bento boxes either. Instead, you'll find a daily "power lunch" special that presents four different meals, each $12.99 and served with a bowl of miso soup and your choice of side. If you're in love with those antelope meatballs, you'll love them in Izakaya's meatball sandwich with kimchi marinara, and you'll no doubt find a similar affection for the hot dog stuffed with two house-made venison sausages and yuzu coleslaw.
Looking for something more "traditional" in your Japanese fusion lunch? Try the tacos filled with grilled hamachi belly or the crispy fried katsu chicken wrap that features house-made teriyaki sauce and tamago. Whatever you choose, however, take our advice and complete your meal with a side of those curry fries. They're just one reason that Izakaya made our list of the 10 best new restaurants of 2015—but they were a pretty substantial reason.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and the corner of Gray and Bagby is a perfectly pleasant walk from downtown this time of year. Enjoy that weather while it lasts, y'all.
Izakaya, 318 Gray St., 713-527-8988, houstonizakaya.com