I was soooo excited for Izakaya. Unreasonably excited. I have been to Izakaya style restaurants in a bunch of cities (well, three Vancouver, DC, Honolulu) and in every instance the food was amazing and the ambience super rad, with the staff greeting you effuselively as you arrived and left.
This was not that place.
The food at Izakaya was good. However, we started off on the wrong foot when our waiter criticized our edamame skin disposing technique (we left them on our serving plates, requiring new plates, evidently a major inconvenience for him). All of us around the table were made to feel uncouth by the waiters pointed commentsand spent most of the meal talking about that instead of catching up as we had intended to!
Finally, according to Wikipedia, an izakaya (居酒屋?) is a type of Japanese drinking establishment which also serves food to accompany the drinks. They are casual places for after-work drinking. Izakaya didn't quite capture that vibe. It was darkly lit, filled with semi-fine furnishings and was clearly trying to be snazzy with its decor. The service bordered on snooty with its formality. Now, I am all for formality, but don't pull that stuff when you have Majic 100 playing over the stereo (or whatever 90s mix they had on) and you can't be bothered to check in on your customers more often than once a half-hour.
Also, the food was more fusion-y than the name implies. In fact, the tastiest thing we had was this panko-crusted camembert with blueberry coulis. Yum! But not Japanese. Some other dishes we liked were the short-rib Gyoza dumplings and Spicy Negitoro (tuna tartare-like).
One sake Bomb + 8 small plates divided by four women totalled a little under $35 per person, though large appetites may not be satisfied with what we had (thankfully, I ate a muffin at 4pm or I could have been feeling a bit pecking later on).
If I hadn't had certain definite expectations in mind, I might have enjoyed Izakaya more. I leave with this article from Honolulu Magazine about the Honolulu Izakaya scene to give you more of a sense of what I was expecting. http://www.honolulumagazine.com/Honolulu-Magazine/April-2011/Eat-Drink-Friends/index.php?cparticle=2&siarticle=1#artanc