Only recently had I taken a keen interest in the sub-culture in Japanese izakaya (or pubs), so it was a delight to not only discover that one existed in downtown Berkeley, but to also be able to partake nearly immediately after discovering it existed! And only recently had I discovered (thanks to the power of youtube) that eating raw chicken -- a taboo in my culture -- had become a trendy item there. A fact that shocked me as much as it piqued my "foodie" curiosity.
Pictured here: razor clams with shiso leaf garnish and lemon wedge sprinkled with shichimi, bbq squid with mayonnaise & ginger garnish, seared chicken breast with daikon, and grilled rice ball in teriyaki sauce.
The interior is dark lighting, old wood, and various types of seating (booths, bar stools, and traditional Eastern floor tables for which one removes shoes). It is easy to feel instantly at home despite a slight air of pretense. Ippuku is renowned not only for their generally superb food and authentic atmosphere, but for being bold enough to serve raw chicken as a dish. At once earthy and romantic.
Despite the controversy, and unorthodox nature of such a dish, TWO of the plates were already sold out on the short menu of about six offerings on the "secret" raw chicken menu (ask for it).
I opted for the seared chicken breast, which came with a garnish of spicy grated daikon that suited it nicely and I added a sprinkle of sancho (rarely seen at Japanese restaurants). The shiso leaf and julienned diakon underneath didn't go to waste either; the presentation was perfect in my opinion. Although I find seared Ahi tuna to be a waste (preferring raw OR cooked not a combo), here the texture was welcome and made the skin EXCELLENT. The raw chicken is mildly sweet, similar to the thin flesh of raw fish of salmon; completely tender!!
To see all the photos & read a full report, please visit my LJ journal: here
Friending by fellow foodie enthusiasts encouraged. ^_^