Location9-1540 Nishiborimae-dori, Chuo-ku, Niigata Shi
Suzuya is a modern izakaya, but the exterior looks more like a private home or an expensive restaurant. Past the entrance and the Japanese garden is the restaurant itself: open and casual, but not loud and smoky like most izakayas. You’ll feel the history of the space, which used to be an okiya, a geisha house.
Two people make the food here. The obanzai dishes, Kyoto-style home cooking, are prepared by Obasan, a local lady. Her specialties include nikujaga, meat and potato stew; oden, a fish sausage stew; and ebi-chili, spicy shrimp. Chef Tomoyuki Inoue cooks regional specialties, excellent with Niigata sake, like noppe, a vegetable and meat stew and nagamo, a local seaweed with ponzu sauce. Some dishes that may be truly unfamiliar to Western palates like basashi, horse-meat sashimi served with fatty gelatinous cuts from the neck.