Tanaka
Shinjuku: Kushiage
Tanaka (Shinjuku: Kushiage)
Tanaka
Open 5pm-1:30am (LO) daily.
late: Open late
Sun: Open Sundays

This popular Osaka-based izakaya is the complete opposite of your typical Tokyo gourmet kushiage shop - the atmosphere is lively and often raucous, with every inch of the tightly packed tables crowded to overflowing with trays of food and drinks. And, true to their Osaka roots, prices are very reasonable - most deep-fried skewers are Y100-120 each, with luxury items like asparagus and scallops just Y200.

There are assortment platters if you want to start with the basics (pork and beef cutlets and various vegetables), or you can jump right in with the more unusual items among the menu's forty choices - deep-fried ginger root, garlic cloves, pickles, liver, shishamo. Fried bananas are always a nice idea, and the ones here make a great dessert course alongside deep-fried mangos and "cookies and cream" - two battered and fried Oreo-like cookies.

Drinks are also quite inexpensive, which helps to explain the impressive noise level of the room - whiskey-based cocktails start at Y350, and Tanaka has their own label of rough but serviceable one-cup sake, also Y350.

One important thing to note is the shop's sauce policy - double-dipping is strictly prohibited. You can dip each skewer into the communal sauce container only once, before you take a bite. If you want a bit more sauce after that, you can use a raw cabbage leaf as a dipping utensil to transfer more sauce to your plate.

(Open from 2pm weekends; LO 12:30am Sundays and holidays.)

Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-12-4, Kumasan Bldg 1F.
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Explore the hidden side of Tokyo dining
Charcoal-grilled pork on skewers, udon noodles in curry-flavored soup, octopus dumplings, deep-fried beef cutlet -- there's a whole world of exciting food in Tokyo that food-loving visitors often miss out on.

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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended