Kiichigo wpiisc

The Kiichigo features lemongrass-flavored shochu.

Midtown’s Izakaya is modeled after the informal Japanese eateries and gathering places that give the restaurant its name.  Comparable to tapas bars, izakayas are where friends can congregate over cocktails and lighter bites. In keeping with izakayas in Japan, the two-year-old eatery has a large collection of beverages reflecting that intention. Izakaya has Houston’s largest selection of shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit which dates back to the 15th century but has become trendy again in the last decade (it's the precursor to Korean soju), as well as one of the city’s largest selections of Japanese and Taiwanese whiskeys, and a recently expanded sake menu with more than three dozen varieties.

In addition to all that, chef Jean Phillippe Gaston and his team have recently rolled out their newest seasonal cocktail menu. The summer cocktail menu is designed to be refreshing and help patrons beat the summer heat, with some unique concoctions and uncommon ingredients. Some of the new additions to the menu include:

  • The Mid-Ocean Cooler, with Bourbon, rhubarb, and Thai ginger
  • The Tokyo Sunset, made with tequila, Aperol, and beet juice
  • The Fuku Bounce, with sparkling wine and pear brandy
  • The Dog Day Rambler, made with Jameson and watermelon
  • The Kiichigo, with lemongrass shochu, raspberry liqueur, and Vouvray chenin blanc
  • And chef Gaston’s personal favorite, JP’s Dream Girl High Ball, a twist on a Paloma, with blanco tequila, grapefruit soda and shiso

These cocktails will be available at all times of day, but for the best deal, visit during happy hour, Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. 

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Izakaya

$$$ Japanese 318 Gray St.

Thanks to chef Manabu Horiuchi’s partnership with chef Jean-Philippe Gaston, the eatery boasts interesting Japanese-by-way-of-Houston fusion dishes—chicken-f...