Santa Fe is one of those magical places. The beauty and connection to the landscape will never leave once you step foot onto her soil. There’s something else to celebrate there, and like the landscape you’ll never be the same after experiencing, Izanami, an Izakaya style Japanese Restaurant (small plates similar to Spanish tapas), which opened a few years ago at Ten Thousand Waves.
Izanami sits on top of one of the mountain ranges in Santa Fe with spectacular views of the valley and mountain ranges. But the view is only part and a small part of this experience. It’s the food and service that makes this place shine.
The avocado sashimi was beautiful in its simplicity. Ripe, avocados sliced and presented in a pool of soy sauce, dusted with Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese spice blend) and served with a dollop of wasabi paste. The house-made gyoza was another shining moment at the table. Perfectly cooked and seared to a golden brown perfection, these pork and vegetable pockets were a stunning contrast to the cold house-cured pickled vegetables that were to follow as the next plate.
At most Japanese restaurant when you order Tsukemono, you usually get the typical pickled cucumber. Not so at Izanami. The plate comes out with not one but six different house-cured pickled vegetables (cucumbers, cabbage, eggplant, summer squash, radish, mushrooms), and each one with its own unique flavor component. The onigiri (rice balls) were exceptional in their simple presentation and flavor, as were the vegetable tempura, which were lightly battered, deep fried without any lingering grease. And if this wasn’t enough, the star of this meal in my opinion was the wagyu beef skewers. These tender bite size pieces of beef literally melted in my mouth. They were juicy and perfectly seasoned, and to make this even more of a moment the skewers were served with green yuzu kosho. Don’t know what yuzu kosho is? You should it’s amazing. Simply put it’s a Japanese condiment sort of like chimichurri sauce and basil pesto. It’s a simple blend of yuzu fruit, green chilies, and salt. It’s addictive.
I could talk for hours about this place. The service was impeccable, the food like nothing I’ve ever had before. This place is without a doubt the best food and dining experience of my life. No joking. It’s worth a trip to Santé Fe just for Izanami. It was so good that as I was leaving, I made a reservation for lunch the next day, and that is worthy of another review.
Food Rating: 5.0 paws
Service Rating: 5.0 paws
Overall Rating: 5.0 paws
With love from my dog bowl to yours…Happy eating.