It’s not that sayonara and domo arigato have worn out their usefulness; it’s just that after dining at this muraled and moody wood-toned lounge (with one of the best back patios in town), customers will find they’ve expanded their Japanese vocabulary. As action-film buffs already know, yakuza is also an alias for the Japanese mafia. but even more central to the dining experience here is the term izakaya, which in Japan refers to the ubiquitous eateries where businessmen and students can gather for a cold beer and small plates of sushi, noodle soups, marinated fish, and other delectable Japanese snacks. Chef Micah Camden has his own take on izakaya, offering excellent sushi, sashimi, and miso soup alongside more experimental plates such as seared yellowtail topped with ponzu sauce and jalapeño salsa, or soda-pop-braised pork short ribs. Yakuza’s also got one of the best burgers in town, served with truffle oil and pickled onions. The result of such delicious dishes? Between the communal tables and a shared-plates philosophy, all manner of clandestine plans can be hatched over a drawn-out meal among Yakuza initiates.
This restaurant was also featured in our 2009 Top Burgers package.