Joshu-ya Brasserie CLOSED 2441 Dwight Way/Telegraph Ave., (510) 848-5260. L M-Sat, D daily; $$.
Though it retains part of the space’s former name, this is an all-new enterprise with an enthusiastic young chef from NYC. Surrounded as it is by a red wood fence, the remodeled restaurant is especially reminiscent of a Japanese country inn in the evening when warm lights glow in welcome. Though traditional Japanese favorites are on the menu and extremely well executed (crisp-battered shrimp and vegetable tempura, delicate vegetable gyoza potstickers), the izakaya (Japanese tapas) craze is apparent with choices such as cold but spicy jalapeno pork belly soba noodles or hanger steak sukiyaki with shitake mushrooms. And there is, of course, plenty of sushi (Lion King with baked salmon, crab, and avocado; Cinderella with vegetable tempura, avocado, and wakame seaweed). A bowl of miso soup and bottomless cup of roasted rice green tea are complimentary with every meal. Dining spaces include a large outside courtyard complete with soothing fountain, a formal front dining room with white tablecloths, a tucked-away back room reminiscent of a German beer pub, and a traditional sushi bar. For drinks, choose from Japanese craft beers, shochu (a Japanese distilled clear spirit similar to vodka), and fruity sake cocktails. Dessert choices include a baseball-size hunk of green tea ice cream wrapped in pound cake and deep fried.
More things to do in Berkeley.
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image ©2011 Carole Terwilliger Meyers