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Sample Seasonal Sake and Japanese Small Plates at Tsubaki, the Echo Park Izakaya


Sake-Marinated Foie GrasSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearSake-Marinated Foie GrasSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearmilk breadSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearmilk breadSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearyuzu kosho tartar sauceSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearPouring the sakeSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearHiramasa sashimiSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearGyozaSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearaged riesling vinegarSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearChef Charles NambaSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearTakoSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearshishito peppersSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearaioliSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pearAsari Saka-MushiSake-Marinated Foie Gras, salmon roe, milk bread, pickled Asian pear

Tsubaki, the new izakaya in Echo Park, features a seasonal section of sakes, which is especially fun, showcasing special sakes that are particular to the time of year. Much of the food is a simple celebration of the ingredients at hand. Hiramasa sashimi is cut into fat slabs of silky fish and presented naked, with a touch of wasabi on the side. Chicken meatballs seem as if they've been created to distill the idea of chicken-y-ness, their juicy poultry essence ramped up by the addition of a runny egg yolk that you use as a rich dipping sauce. A couple of dishes might serve as an entire meal, such as a hearty bowl of curry soba noodles, or a simmered New York strip steak with mushrooms, but almost everything is best suited to sharing and nibbling.