I became a big fan of Izakayas when traveling abroad. Usually small bars that served good beer and had a big assortment of small plates available. These were super easy to walk into alone, grab a drink, and try a bunch of different things from the menu.
Izakaya NoMad on 26th is worth the visit. This place always seems to be packed, but they have a nice long bar where you can usually get a seat. The music is a little loud, but definitely fits with the casual ambiance of the place.
Plenty of Japanese beer available. I took it easy and avoided the extensive sake menu this time.
Small plate menus are a weakness of mine. So many things to choose from. As soon as I saw that okonomiyaki was available, I had to get it. A Japanese "pancake" filled with seafood and covered with fish flakes, it's normally shared with two people, but I didn't let that stop me from ordering it. This was very good.
Gyoza, perfectly fried and crunchy with a meat filling.
The big draw for me to these places is the yakitori options. Skewers of meat, seafood, and vegetables grilled up quick and served on small plates go perfectly with a few beers. I controlled myself and just tried one, the beef short rib. Next time I come back, I'll resist the pancakes and dumplings, and just stick with the skewers. Maybe some sake.