If you’ve ever wondered where food critics eat on their own dime, it’s at places like Izakaya Seki. The father/daughter team of chef Hiroshi Seki and co-owner Cizuka Seki deliver an unfussy yet memorable dining experience at their Japanese gastropub, where simple pleasures abound: a jewel-box-like sashimi platter, whole barbecue squid, or udon noodles in a heady dashi broth. Thrill seekers aren’t without options, especially on the daily hand-drawn menu that may offer prized Hokkaido uni with quail eggs or ara yaki, grilled scraps from sashimi-grade fish that you tear into as you would sublime chicken wings. Misfires are next to none—just don’t forget a chilled sake recommendation from the lengthy list. Moderate.
Also great: Barbecue eel and cucumber; seafood-onion fritters; Japanese omelet; crunchy baby octopus; garlic fried rice; trio of seasonal vegetable dishes.