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Experience a New Kind of American Pub at Pensacola's Japanese Izakaya

By Kelly Church

Specializing in house-made ramen noodle bowls and sushi dishes with local, fresh fish at the forefront, Nom Sushi Izakaya brings a new look, feel and menu to Japanese cuisine. Restaurant owner and chef Brad Jones opened the modern Pensacola, FL Japanese gastropub with many years of experience working with sushi, seeing this as an opportunity to reinvent Japanese favorites.

"My wife and I decided to open Nom Sushi Izakaya after working for nearly a combined 30 years in the restaurant industry," Jones says. "I have been focusing on sushi for over fifteen years and have always had the desire to bring something new to the sushi scene in my hometown of Pensacola."

Izakaya in Japanese culture is a type of gastropub, or a pub with nicer food and drinks. Jones says the environment welcomes groups that want to gather and share food, drinks, similar to tapas restaurants. Designed to be a fun, inviting and energetic atmosphere, the plates present a more intimate feel. Each small dish is carefully plated and decorated, representing Jones' passion for his industry.

"I love Japanese cuisine, and sushi and ramen in particular, because the simplicity of the flavors forces you to focus on the quality of the ingredients and the execution of your technique," Jones says. "It allows me to be focused and creative at the same time."

Jones says some of the most popular dishes at Nom Sushi Izakaya include the tonkatsu ramen, a dish of house-made noodles, a creamy pork broth, pork belly, poached egg, shiitake mushrooms, menma (a type of bamboo shoot), scallions and roasted garlic oil. At the sushi bar, a favorite is the graffiti bridge, aptly named after a local landmark. This sushi roll is made with shrimp, avocado, cucumber, and blackened tuna tataki and a spicy snow crab salad on top.

Many guests come to Nom Sushi Izakaya and order omakese, which translates to "I leave it to you," or chef's choice. This, Jones says, is an opportunity for him to show off his restaurant's talents and their finest ingredients in the sushi bar. The menu is offered with wine, beer and sake pairings and it is recommended that guests sit at the sushi bar when ordering omakese.

"Every dish on our menu is a labor of love," Jones says. "Our guests are constantly commenting on how much they love the design, food and music, so that gives me hope that the concept has been successful so far!"

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