Address: 87 MacDougal Street, Greenwich Village, New York, NY 10011
Phone: (212) 388-0013
Reservations: Yes, recommended for large groups and on weekends
Fukurou is the first US outpost of a Japanese izakaya chain, but you’d never guess this was a corporate location from the experience. It’s a tiny space with a few counter seats and tables that are almost always reserved by Japanese patrons or foodies.
The decor is rustric, wooden, traditional izakaya with a couple owls (fukurou) tucked away for the observent guest. All seats are stools with baskets tucked underneath for a jacket, purse, or attache – such a nice touch. This place could easily be on a side street in Tokyo or Osaka. Very authentic decor and menu. The upside is that you’ve saved yourself a flight and the menu is in English.
The drinks menu is restricted to a soft license so beer, wine, and sake are the only options. An izakaya just isn’t quite an izakaya without shochu – at least in my book. It’s a minor quibble though since the Asahi draft is ice cold (and imported from Japan – not all Japanese draft beer is actually made in Japan) and the sake list is eclectic, though don’t be surprised to find a boisterous table of Japanese patrons swilling red wine.
The food menu is dominated with small plates meant for sharing – think Japanese tapas. It’s extensive and delicious. Rather than suggest specific dishes, you should explore the menu for yourself. Be adventurous. The plates are so small that if you don’t like something you haven’t lost much – and you may have found a new favorite.
Okay, I can’t help myself. A couple interesting dishes were the Zuru Teba (fried chicken wings that won’t get your hands dirty) and deep fried brie (trust me, it’s awesome). Several other usual suspects were great too so explore on your own.
Start with an ice cold Asahi. Just say “Toriaizu Nama” when you sit down and they’ll know you’re an izakaya regular. It essentially means, “Give me a beer while I look over the menu.” After that, just sit back and enjoy.
(photo courtesy of Fukurou)