Izakaya WA, Houston, Texas – Restaurant Review

Izakaya WA, Houston, Texas – Restaurant Review

     

    On a recent shopping expedition with my girlfriends in Houston, I noticed a ‘new’ sign advertising a Japanese restaurant close by called Izakaya WA. As it was lunchtime it seemed rude not to stop by for a visit.

    We arrived around 11.45am and yet even with an 11.30am opening there weren’t any tables available inside! Wow, now that’s a promising sign. As Houston was experiencing one of its rare cooler days we decided to brave the outdoor seating area. Although we were the first to take a seat outside, by the time we left this area was also full.

     

    ‘In Japan, Izakayas are places where it is common to drink and relax while enjoying many sample-sized dishes similar to the concept of tapas”

    Izakaya WA

    Location

     

    I had visited this location a few years earlier when it was a Mexican restaurant so I asked our server how long they had been open. Imagine my surprise when she said 3 years! How unobservant I must be. But better late than never.

     

    The setting is somewhat hidden from the busy Memorial Drive address so could be a little tricky to find. Look for the sign close by the Roberts store and then drive behind the Compass Bank to find the parking area.

    Izakaya WA

     

    Appetizers

     

    The lunch menu had quite a large selection. There were many shareable starter options so we decided to order some edamame (USD 4) and seaweed salad (USD 4). In keeping with the tapas idea there were sharing plate options from the Sushi Bar such as assorted sashimi, 3 for USD 18 or 5 for USD 35. And options from the kitchen such as Potato croquette, karaage (fried chicken nuggets), and age takoyaki (deep fried octopus balls with bonito, mayo sauce, and ginger).

    Izakaya WA

    Main course

     

    Our very helpful server checked back on us quite a few times as we struggled to decide what to eat. Too many good sounding options I guess. We ordered a shrimp sushi roll while we contemplated our next dish. Finally, we decided to each try an Udon noodle soup.

     

     

    Our large bowls of Udon soon arrived. The Udon noodles can be a little tricky to eat so here are a few tips that worked for us:

    1. If you don’t like long hanging noodles from your mouth then cut them into shorter lengths
    2. Keep your plate close to you as the noodles can be extremely slippery and can cause quite the splash if they fall back into the plate
    3. Use a combination of the soup spoon and your chopsticks to wind the noodles into a ball
    4. Don’t try to get too many noodles at one go.
    5. Don’t suck or slurp your noodles too hard as that makes quite a loud noise and the noodles tend to slap you in the face.

    The lunch menu does give you the option to have a smaller bowl of Udon (we only noticed that later) and I would probably opt for that on a future visit.

    Izakaya WA

    Drinks

     

    Izakaya WA offers a selection of local craft beers, a good selection of Japanese beers, plus a few beers on draft. There were also a few wine options, and of course Japanese sake (by the bottle and by the glass).  I also noticed a Japanese drink called Ramune with Japanese Sprite, strawberry and melon flavors.  I guess you could call this the Japanese equivalent of a gastro pub.

    Desserts

     

    There were a few parfaits and ice cream options for dessert but the noodle soup was far too filling for us on this visit so sadly we passed.

    Izakaya WA

    Verdict

     

    A very knowledgeable and helpful server really enhanced our visit. I’m not sure I’d be prepared to sit outside in the Houston summer heat but I noticed that they take reservations so perhaps a little pre-planning would be needed. The menu had numerous dishes that I would love to try so I can see me stopping by again.

     

    Izakaya WA The Fact Sheet

     

    Address: 12665 Memorial Drive, Houston, Tx 77024 (behind Compass Bank)

    Phone: 713 461 0155

    Opening Hours: Website gives two different versions. Monday shows as closed on one web page but not on another so check directly for up to date info.

    Other info: Reservations taken

    Izakaya-Wa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

     

     

     

     

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