After living in Japan, I have longed for Ottawa to get a good Japanese Izakaya. Opening last November, Kuidore Izakaya opened on Preston Street, and I hoped it would be more authentic than some of the previous Izakayas that have previously opened in the National Capital Region.
An izakaya is a Japanese pub, which often sells small plate dishes, such as karaage (bite-sized fried chicken), kushiyaki (grilled meat or vegetable skewers), edamame (soybeans in the pod), agedashi dofu (deep-fried tofu in broth). Kuidore (which means to eat oneself bankrupt) has a massive menu of classic Izakaya dishes, ramen, sushi, and cocktails (including sake-bombs) that will make it easy to find plenty of dishes you want to try.
The interior of the small restaurant is covered on one side with a large mural of a Gundam, Godzilla, paper cranes and Mount Fuji. Kuidaore Izakaya has a fun atmosphere with JPop music playing and multicolor lights that change colors on the walls.
Karaage ($7) was perfectly crispy and moist fried chicken served with lemon and mayo.
The vegetable gyoza ($5) was a delicious appetizer.
For a hearty dish, the Tonkotsu Black ($12.50) is sure to leave you full as all the ramen dishes are massive. I wish this dish had a richer broth as Tonkotsu Black typically has, but it was still good.
The other ramen dish I tried was the karaage ($13.50 ramen) which is served with fried chicken on top.
I was rather excited to see Japanese curry on the menu, as it is a dish I often ate in Japan (and make at home). Unlike curry found around the rest of the world Japanese curry is much milder. The Tonkotsu Curry Don ($13) was perfect, the curry and breaded pork (tonkotsu) slices were nice and moist.
The number one dish I wanted to try on the menu was the Okonomiyaki, which is one of my favorite Japanese dishes which is difficult to find in Ottawa. At Kuidaore Izakaya they make Okonomiyaki ($10) which is a savory pancake which is sometimes referred to as Japanese pizza. The pancake is made out of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), and flavored with ingredients such as shredded cabbage, green onions, thin piece of pork belly, and sometimes a variety of other toppings such as octopus or vegetables. The dish is then covered with bonito (dried fish), okonomiyaki sauce (a sweet sauce), and Japanese mayonnaise.
Kuidore Izakaya is a welcomed addition to Ottawa’s culinary scene offering plenty of Japanese dishes you could previously not find in Ottawa. While some of the dishes could use some mild updating, overall the restaurant provides a wonderful Izakaya atmosphere and plenty of selection.