Big changes are afoot at Yakitori restaurant Izakaya Ten, where Korean owner Lannie Ahn has just added more sake and shochu to the drink menu, including the high-end Funaguchi ($12.50) which comes in single serving, 6.7oz cans, like those found in Japanese vending machines. The single-sheet sake menu is organized in terms of type and polish, making it pretty easy to navigate. On its way to complete world-menu domination, the Berkshire pork belly at Izakaya is skewered, charred, and slightly sweet. Otherwise sushi, rice and noodles are offered.
A special late night menu is served until 2:30 a.m. (Izakaya now closes at 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, according to the puckering pufferfish above), which comes in handy for the Del Posto kitchen crew, who, according to Ahn, stop by for sake on the regular. A bowl of terrifyingly sticky and stringy nattō will cost a few bucks (usually only Japanese customers order it, says Ahn), and a kurobuta sausage and mustard appetizer is only $4. If you're lucky, you'll hear the weirdo video game-esque Japanese folk instrument cover of the Emperor's Theme from Star Wars.
Don't know much about the sake? Stop by Sakaya in the East Village today and pose your questions to sake samurai (seriously) Tim Sullivan of Urban Sake. He'll be conducting an in-store tasting from 3-6pm.
Izakaya Ten // 207 10th Ave. // (212) 627-7777
Sakaya // 329 East 9th Street // (212) 505-SAKE