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Kotaro

Review excerpt: Essentially, Kotaro is an izakaya, a tavern where sake and food share equal billing, and both are there to accompany conversation and relaxation at the end of the day. But don’t arrive expecting boisterous revelry and red-faced salarymen drinking cheap highballs.

Here the atmosphere is always relaxed but restrained, with no hint of rambunctiousness. Along with your choice of libation, you order two or three items at a time, sharing each with your dining partner(s) and repeating as required — until you reach satiation or have to run for the last train home.

Easier still, just ask for Hayashi’s omakase (leave it up to the chef) dinner. While the details will depend on whatever is in season — he sources his vegetables and his seafood direct from farmers and fishermen he knows personally — he has several signature creations that appear year-round.