Dojo Izakaya image

Dojo Izakaya


East Village

$$$$Perfect For:Cheap EatsFirst/Early in the Game DatesSmall Plates
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Recently, I was listening to a podcast about happiness (Sorry. I know. Up next, we can talk about our favorite NPR shows and professional American soccer) where the host explained that there are two types of people in the world: "maximizers" and "satisficers." Maximizers are obsessed with finding the very best in life at all times, while satisficers (yes, that's a combination of "satisfying" and sufficing") are usually happy with something that's pretty good.

If you read this website regularly, you're probably a maximizer - the person in your group of friends who considers restaurant menus required reading and plans for large group dinners as if they were job interviews.

So without getting too Malcolm Gladwell on you, consider this: Dojo Izakaya is a satisficer restaurant. It's satisfying and it suffices. It's not "Perfect For" Parents In Town or for Big Groups, but it is "Perfect For" having a good time with some pretty good food. It's also almost absurdly reasonable.

Dojo Izakaya is a sibling of the East Village's beloved Sushi Dojo, but it's more of a random cousin than a brother or sister. The Avenue B space is tiny, and the menu is made up of Japanese small plates.

All of this may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it's not. Dojo Izakaya is a fun little place with good bites and incredibly friendly service, where you can easily spend less than $40 a person including personal cans of sake per person. So next time you're looking furiously for a low key East Village spot, remember Dojo Izakaya. Also remember not to lose your sh*t every time you try to pick a place for dinner, you maximizer. It's going to be OK. We're here for you.

Food Rundown

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Gobo Chips

These are awesome. You get some fried crispy gobo (it's a root vegetable, so we hear) with a tangy cod roe dipping sauce. Order this.
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Your other must-order. If you haven't tried deep fried octopus-filled dough balls, change that ASAP. Imagine a savory doughnut hole filled with chunks of octopus.
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Kani Korokke

Believe it or not, these are not mozzarella sticks. And tempting as they sound, they're the far lesser of the seafood-filled fried balls you can get here. These are filled with crabmeat, and they're kind of a fishy mushy whatever.
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Katsu Sando

A piece of thick crispy fried pork between pieces of toasted white bread. A nice bite, if not the most exciting one.
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Buta Kakuni

If you're looking for a (small) item of meat, this is the one to go with. It's a very tender braised pork belly, and it's better than the weird lukewarm hamburger on a plate that is the Hamburg Steak.


Suggested Reading

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A classic East Village soba spot with rice bowls we keep coming back for.

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