Ippo: Ebisu
Ebisu / Izakaya
Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 1-22-10, Kamasuya 2F.
Open 6pm-1am (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

If it weren't for the illuminated sign advertising, "Fish and Sake" in English, you might have trouble finding this second-story hideaway in Ebisu. The interior is modestly appointed with a few small tables around a long wooden counter. This understated approach to decor reflects the bar's no-frills philosophy. They specialize in two things: fresh fish and sake.

The fish comes directly from Tsukiji every day. Seasonal specials change frequently, but standards like the fuwa-fuwa satsuma age (Y650), fried fish cakes, and the namero (Y950) - raw fish minced with herbs - are available all year round and come highly recommended. The fluffy and delicate satsuma age release a tiny puff of air as you bite into them. The namero offers a contrast of intense flavors - bright versus briny - in each mouthful.

The sake menu (in Japanese and English) features over fifty varieties and changes with the seasons. Along with big names like Kudoki Jozu and Hiroki are lesser-known producers like Shinkame, and even smaller producers like Mutsuhassen. The friendly but unobtrusive staff can help you make you make a selection. Sake is available in two sizes, 120ml (Y500-) and 180ml (Y750-). If, for some reason, you decide not to have sake, the bar also serves shochu and awamori (about twelve varieties).

by Melinda Joe
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