Shokunin Izakaya | Calgary's Best Restaurants 2020

Shokunin is chef Darren MacLean’s Canadian take on a contemporary Japanese restaurant and drinking establishment on 4th Street S.W.

Bison tataki with yuzu kosho pickled onions and strong ponzu. Photograph by Jared Sych.

Food: Modern Japanese izakaya.
Vibe: Tokyo underground.
Order this: Anything off the yakitori menu.
Know this: The Okami Kasu beer served there is a signature product created in collaboration with local craft brewery Ol’ Beautiful that is infused with sake kasu, a byproduct of sake brewing.
Average Price: $4 (piece items), $18 (plates).

Chef Darren MacLean (a.k.a. the guy who made it to the end on The Final Table on Netflix) makes no secret of his love and reverence for the izakayas he frequented during an extended stay in Tokyo. That passion followed him home to Alberta and is embodied in Shokunin, MacLean’s Canadian take on a contemporary Japanese restaurant and drinking establishment on 4th Street S.W. MacLean wasn’t going to do this if he couldn’t do it right: the charcoal used to grill the yakitori (skewered chicken) and kushiaki (skewered mushrooms and other proteins) is authentic binchotan, the food menu is constantly changing to accommodate seasonal and special ingredients and the bar is stocked with sake and Japanese whiskies. Are we in Tokyo yet?

2016 4 St. S.W., 403-229-3444, shokuninyyc.ca

Shokunin’s interior has a Tokyo-underground vibe. Photograph by Jared Sych.

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This article appears in the March 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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