• Ashley Margaret Waterman

Anniversary Dinner: Izakaya Den

Last weekend, Sam and I celebrated two years of dating with the best sushi I've ever had.

Two years ago, I met a guy at a brewery I'd never been to before--after canceling on him the first time around--and did most of the talking. Surprised that he wanted a second date, we made plans to get Mexican food the next week. Our third date consisted of him putting together my newly acquired Ikea table and chair (I lived by myself and not thinking about the future, only bought one chair). I'm glad that even after I canceled, he was still willing to meet up.

Sushi became our official anniversary dinner last year. Because it's expensive, it's the only time we go out to a nice sushi restaurant. This also means that we eat more sushi than necessary, but I'm okay with that.

In preparation for our anniversary dinner, I made reservations at Izakaya Den. Recommended by friends who know good sushi, I'd been wanting to eat at Izakaya Den for quite some time.

We arrived for our reservation and the ordering began. We asked for an order of the steamed bun appetizer and tempura, but they were out of buns. This is something that seems to happen frequently because the best restaurants make their buns in the morning and sell out of them quickly. We decided on just the tempura and our selected sushi.

First, we had live uni (sea urchin). We'd marked two orders of uni sashimi, but the waitress told us that one of the specials, the live sea urchin, came with five pieces. The price was comparable, so we opted for live. I didn't know what to expect from live sea urchin; this was my first time eating sea urchin at all. When the waitress brought it to the table, I ate it with my eyes. The plating on top of the urchin was phenomenal. One of those dishes that melts in your eyes, this urchin was appetizing from eyes to stomach.

Our second dish was the tempura. This dish was perfect for sharing. With two shrimp, potato, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, green pepper, and zucchini, there was more than enough for both of us.

Our third dish arrived with our nigiri. Our first fish was yellowtail--a personal favorite--and the second was one of the house specials: bluefin tuna.

After our nigiri, we had one plate to go. From bottom left across: crispy skin salmon; tuna avocado; firecracker roll; and eel. The firecracker roll was my favorite, but each piece of sushi was just as good as the last.

If you haven't eaten at Izakaya Den, I suggest you do. The dessert menu didn't have any Ashley-friend options, so we headed to Sweet Action to satisfy my sweet tooth, but the sushi was worth the lack of dessert. When I asked Sam what he thought, he said this is the best sushi he's had outside of Japan.

The food was good and the waitstaff was that perfect combination of attentive and distant. The one odd element was that our water glasses smelled like they'd been washed in the ocean, resulting in a fishy odor. Aside from that, this was the perfect anniversary dining experience.

#anniversary #fish #bluefintuna #sushi #nigiri #datenight #uni #liveuni #eel #crispyskinsalmon #firecrackerroll #IzakayaDen #Denver


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