New York City

Queens Japanese Restaurant Offers a New Take On Traditional American Diners

What to Know

  • Owners of The Izakaya in the Lower East Side have opened their take on American diners, Diner by The Izakaya at Queens bar Nowadays
  • The food honors the owners' Japanese heritage with a spin, one of the diner dishes includes their take on burgers and fries
  • Diner by Izakaya also serve up traditional ramen dishes like the black garlic syoyu chicken ramen, as well as their original sake

As the weather gets colder, al fresco season is slowly coming to an end. The guys behind The Izakaya opened their second Japanese resturant Diner by The Izakaya at the indoor bar Nowadays in Ridgewood, Queens.

Yudai Kanayama and Keisuke Kasagi, the owners of The Izakaya in the Lower East Side, approached their second outpost as a “family-restaurant” concept known as famiresu in Japanese. The diner comes as a mixture of previous projects from the past five years.

“We always loved the diner atmosphere and a wide variety of dishes, but at the same time wished the quality of the food to be higher. So Diner by The Izakaya is a diner with Japanese influences, menu produced Japanese chef,” said Kanayama.

The food honors their heritage with a spin, one of the diner dishes includes their take on burgers and fries. A thinly sliced and grilled lamb burger topped with a brioche bun ($12) is inspired from a classic Japanese barbecue dish produced by experienced Japanese Chef Munetake Ogata from Hokkaido. The option to add French fries are an extra $4, but it’s dusted with aonori seaweed powder giving it a memorable taste.

Diner by Izakaya also serve up traditional ramen dishes like the black garlic syoyu chicken ramen ($15). It's perfect for a cold evening, it’a mix of ramen noodles, chicken charsiu, nori and scallions in a garlicy broth.

Their ramen comes from a partnership with Keizo Shimamoto and their udon noodle comes from working with another local Brooklyn resturant, Hanon, that Kanayama has helped open.

“We wanted to try something that’s familiar to lots of people in this case a diner that many people here dine at but with different approach.”

For those following a vegan diet, Diner by The Izakaya has a lotus root burger with a homemade spicy misco sauce and an edmame miso hummus with chips.

Along with the food, Japanese beer Sapporo and Izakaya’s original sake will be served. Kanayama, who is from the city of Sapporo in Japan, describes his homemade sake as the “soul” and “a must” of the place.

“We are trying to sell the sake not by the taste, but by the mood of the day. A new way of selling sake in a country where people are not familiar with what sake is, and this sake has been a big hit at The Izakaya," Kanayama said.

Diner by The Izakaya offers a peak into Kanayama and Kasagi's heritage with their passion of bringing together people with food.

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