The Top 100 List: #85 Izakya Den’s “Calamari Salad”

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Izakya Den’s “Calamari Salad”

Location: Pearl St Denver

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

Price:  $12

The Skinny: Izakya Den is basically the twin brother of Sushi Den.  They share the same parent, the same style, the same taste in food – they even share their plates (mine here said “sushi den”).  Anyone who has been on a 2 hour wait at the original Den can see why it was probably a good idea to put a clone across the street.  Owner Toshi Kizaki is creating quite a little empire for himself on that corner of Pearl – recently opening Den Deli just a few steps away.  Between Frank Bonanno’s neighborhood at 7th and Grant, and Kizaki’s area of Pearl, we could have ourselves a good old fashioned turf war.   A prospect more terrifying than the time the Jet’s danced their way into a fight with the Sharks.

Den’s calamari salad nearly caused a similar war at my table for the tasty, but few, pieces of pan fried calamari.  They were slightly crisp and light, seasoned well, and gently drizzled in the excellent salad sauce.  The sauce was a mixture of capers, white wine, garlic, and lemon – a can’t miss combination so long as everything is balanced, which it was.  The calamari lays on a bed of wilted, soft spinach, and some roma tomatoes, which have been roasted and given a dab of yuzu vinaigrette.  My one complaint is that I wished the sauce didn’t drown out the crunch of the calamari, but overall, it was very well done.

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