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West Village’s Newest Izakaya: Furukou

March 19, 2013

Furukou is a newcomer to West Village and I am smitten already.  This Japanese izakaya import named after owl in Japanese is cozy and relaxed, perfect for hanging out with friends over beer and great bites.

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The wings here are good and I am not just saying it because I love wings.  The skin is salty and crispy with tender and moist meat underneath.  They come with these little wooden skewers that are suppose to help you eat them elegantly.  Unfortunately we never figured out how to the exasperation of our waiter who tried fruitlessly to show us how to use the skewers.

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Flash fried baby horse mackerels are great finger foods.  A squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of coarse salt, the pile of hot crunchy fish will disappear very quickly.

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Instead of lettuce wraps, the grilled black pork short ribs are served at Furukou in seaweed wraps with a shio-kouji sauce and punchy thinly sliced scallions to cut through the grease.  I don’t know what makes the pork black but the meat was juicy and nicely caramelized around the edges.

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For something non-meaty or fried, I love the avocado tofu.  Elegantly built, the delicate sticks of avocado tofu are incredibly creamy, slightly sweet.  When dipped in soy sauce with a dab of wasabi, they perk up in flavor.  This is a fantastic choice for the non-meat eater in your party.

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Furukou makes dashimaki tamago ippon yaki fresh to order.  This means that the grilled egg omelet will arrive piping hot at your table.  Another lighter choice on the izakaya menu.

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All meals at an izakaya should end with some form of starch.  This is meant to soak up the alcohol consumed throughout the night.  The shellfish rice bowl is filled with clams and scallops and shrimp.  The casserole comes to the table steaming and the waitress will mix it up right in front of you and even serve you.  The rice is buttery with little bits of caramelized pieces mixed in.  The portion isn’t big but split between two, the small bowl is just the right amount to end the meal.

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Of course, no meal is complete without a small sweet bite.  Like the rest of the meal, the desserts are also well portioned.  The mango cheesecake comes in a small ceramic bowl with adorable wooden spoons.  Even though mango isn’t in season, you would never be able to tell with this so dig in deep for little bit of that creamy filling and crunchy bottom and  of course, the sweet glaze.

Sure, Furukou has not been around as long as the other izakayas in the city and thus not as much clout, but the convenient location and great food will ensure that I will be returning soon.  Plus, how can you say no to the adorable owl figurines in the window?

Furukou | 87 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012 | http://fukurou.soh.bz/

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