Eat & Drink

Form Meets Function

The yin and yang of Izakaya Den’s design—and cuisine.

August 2013

Toshi Kizaki is a perfectionist. Case in point: The owner and executive chef reworked the plans for the recently relocated, exquisitely designed Izakaya Den more times than anyone can remember. There was the elevator, which was supposed to rise from the main floor to the top floor. But after the concrete shaft was poured, Kizaki decided the elevator needed to reach all the way down to the basement. And then there’s the front dining room: Despite having reopened the restaurant in early June, Kizaki continued to tinker, switching out wall art and rearranging the large, lanternlike chandeliers.

The highly stylized space—a layered combination of stone and steel, air and wood—is adjacent to Sushi Den, and the energy of the two restaurants flows back and forth through doorways and kitchen pass windows. But where Sushi Den remains a temple to sushi, Izakaya continues its work as a Japanese gastropub with a globally inspired menu. In fact, Kizaki has designed a dish—a crispy whole flounder (at right)—that epitomizes Izakaya’s signature architectural elements. 1487-A S. Pearl St., 303-777-0691, izakayaden.net