Izakaya is a word, as in traditional oriental fashion, comprised of two separate words, ‘I’ meaning – to stay and ‘sakaya’ meaning – sake shop. Izakaya is a type of working man’s pub in Japan, a local after-five watering hole so to say. Izakayas are usually marked so with red lanterns, or akachลchin. And Izakaya Den in Denver is no different. This is where I took a sushi making class from owner and head chef Yasu.

I’ve made sushi before, but Yasu and his sous chef for the class Kobayashi, pointed out small suggestions to improve my western ways. Yasu makes the experience, with tales of growing up on a small farm in Japan, to how him and his two brothers run all their restaurants together from Japan to Denver – a true family restaurant.

The fish was superbly chosen (the youngest brother’s job back in Japan) and filling. The eager students laugh off the air of awkward first introductions immediately and the Sapporo begins to flow freely. After watching Yasu roll and trying my hand at a few, I noticed how delicate the art of sushi is. It is subtle and confident as you must roll tightly but not crush the rice together, avoiding a rock-like piece of sushi which is difficult to eat. A true Asian art.

The classes run every other week if not more often. Check the website for upcoming dates and make a reservation plenty ahead of time.

Izakaya Den
1518 S Pearl St
Denver, Colorado 80210
(303) 777-0691