According to Izakaya Ku's menu, the mackerel dish would be seared tableside. But I didn't expect the waiter to show up with a hand-held flamethrower. I admit inching away in my seat a little when it whooshed on as though it were an acetylene torch. We were sitting in an all-wooden booth shrouded with noren, the traditional Japanese curtain made of loose fabric, and I imagined the whole thing becoming kindling, the entire restaurant coming down in heap of ash. But in the middle of devising an escape plan, I became mesmerized. The blue flame licked the slab of mackerel as tenderly as a lover's tongue, the oily skin sputtering and hissing. Fine spatters of grease flew like sparks, and just as the smoke began to rise,... More >>>