Izakaya Eating in Tokyo

Tengu is one of my favorite go-to izakaya chains in Japan. It may be the equivalent of T.G.I. Friday’s for all I know, but it’s friendly and comfortable, and the food is delicious. It’s a popular place for salarymen to gather after work, and the prices are reasonable, so you may encounter students there, too.

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine, yakitori

Exterior of Tengu near Suidobashi train station

Named for the supernatural creature in Japanese folklore, the restaurant is easily recognized by its logo, which bears the creature’s long nose and mischievous smile. The name literally means “heavenly dog” (天狗) and comes from Chinese mythology. I’m not sure if the original creature had doglike features, but it actually looks like a combination of a bird and a human. Considered to be a disruptive goblin in Buddhism, over time Tengu became known as spirits that protect the mountains and forests.

Tengu the restaurant serves many of the dishes you enjoy at izakayas in New York. The menu can be a bit overwhelming because the huge selection, but you can’t go wrong with anything skewered, grilled, or fried.

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine, yakitori

Bonjiri (chicken butt) and tsukune (chicken meatballs)

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine, yakitori

Asparagus wrapped in bacon

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine, yakitori

Ika (squid) tempura. We were looking for geso tatsuta age, which Izakaya Ten in Chelsea serves, but this was a delicious substitute.

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine, yakitori

Hokke, a type of mackerel (Yes, that's a plate of French fries in the background.)

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine

Cold beer

Tengu, izakaya, Tokyo, Japan, Japanese cuisine

Tengu!