For the most part sushi and Japanese food is served in a fairly serious setting in Dublin. You'd book ahead, plan it and check diaries with friends to make it happen.
That isn't the case in Japan, of course, where it is often eaten on the go, grabbed as a quick lunch or eaten alone at a counter.
I'm glad to say I've found a spot on Poolbeg Street that is super casual and so small you couldn't swing a cat in the place.
Japanese Kitchen seats about 12 at most with 4 seats at the bar where you can watch the chefs rolling, chopping and searing your dinner.
The place is run by the same folks behind J2, which is a top spot we reviewed down in the IFSC, that fits the more modern and elegant standard. It's not like that in here, in this spot everything is focused on the casual, fast and tasty market.
In an area packed full of commuters, students and business folk, many people were grabbing their food to go. I, however, parked myself up on a stool and enjoyed the lads working away. Live entertainment is better than scrolling through Facebook on the phone, as most lone diners tend to do.
I had a bento box, for €8.50, which would have more than filled me alone. Big juicy tempura prawns (I saw mine being fried with my own eyes), three pieces of sushi, rice, edamame beans and some seaweed. Splendid value.
I threw in a side of spicy tuna roll but really had no need for it – purely for review purposes, of course – and along with a green tea the whole thing came to €15.
An absolute bargain.
They've lovely specials on the board to keep you coming back and the staff couldn't be any friendlier. The chef asking how good the food is with a big smile on his face as you eat it is usually a good sign. No hiding here.
We'd also highly recommend the chicken udon noodle in a dashi broth – so good.
The place is open 12-3pm for lunch but I'd say you'd be lucky to get a seat. It also opens in the evening from 5-10pm, but it isn't the sort of place you'd linger for a couple of hours.
This reminds me of a fast paced sushi joint in New York or other big cities. In the same way we all used to grab a sambo at lunch time, people are now grabbing burritos, sushi and all sorts of other great lunch options.
Give it a whirl. Japanese Kitchen is a top spot.