When we want Japanese food downashore — be it sushi, robatayaki or just a wide selection of sake — our first choice is always Izakaya, the Borgata jewel run by chef/owner Michael Schulson.
Schulson, who also owns the pan-Asian Sampan in Philadelphia, made his bones at Philly destinations like Le Bec-Fin and Buddakan (and the Buddakan outpost in New York). Schulson named this small-plate palace after the Japanese word for "casual pub," and the vibe is definitely that despite luxurious accents like black leather banquettes and resident DJs.
For those with a streak of adventurousness at the beginning of the workweek, Izakaya offers an expansive selection of $7 items that includes offerings from every part of the food and drink menus. Need more enticement? Spending $20 at Izakaya on a Monday night gets you complimentary admission to mur.mur nightclub.
Located inside the Borgata Hotel
1 Borgata Way
Atlantic City, New Jersey 08401
You don't even have to head to the shore for Schulson's take on broccoli:
Charred Japanese Broccoli
Courtesy of Izakaya chef/owner Michael Schulson
4½ ounces Chinese broccoli or broccoli florettes, tips removed, cut on bias
1 tablespoon blended oil
1 teaspoon garlic cloves, minced
¼ red finger chile, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon white soy sauce
2 teaspoons pinenuts, toasted
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for about two minutes, until al dente and vibrant in color. Strain. Place a heavy bottom sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add garlic and chile, sauté until lightly browned, being careful not to burn. Add blanched broccoli. Sauté for an additional minute. Deglaze pan with white soy. Garnish with toasted pinenuts. Serve immediately.