Japanese restaurant

Danny’s Izakaya Japanese restaurant opens in Oyster Bay

On proof of the growing number of Danny’s Chinese Kitchens, the Antin brothers clearly know what this island wants in Chinese-American takeout. Danny and David opened their first location in 2014 in Bellmore, their second in 2020 in Massapequa, a third in Oceanside the following year, and are on track to open a fourth, in Syosset, next month.

Danny’s Izakaya, who made his Oyster Bay debut last month, is a departure on many fronts. Not only does Danny’s expand into the world of Japanese street food, as its name suggests, but with a dining room that transcends functional, with beautiful black banquettes, moody red lighting over a tony bar and walls lined with Edo-themed murals by Arlene McLoughlin, a Massapequa-based artist.

“It was really exciting to be welcomed into the neighborhood,” said Randy Klein, an attorney who caught the restaurant bug and joined the Antins as a business partner last year. “And the feedback has been all positive on Charley’s cooking as well.”

That would be Chief Charley Moi, a Texas native who headed north nine years ago. “I had a background in Chinese and barbecue when I moved here,” he said, and for a time Moi worked in the kitchen at Queens Bully, a barbecue gastropub in England. borough. He cut his Japanese teeth at Ponyboy, a Brooklyn club that regularly hosts private omakase-style events, before auditioning for Danny’s gig last year.

“They asked me to make ramen, and I was like, ‘It’s in my wheelhouse, but you know it’s going to take me 30 hours to put together, right?'” Sure, they said, dropping him in one of their Danny’s Chinese kitchens. “So I was making ramen in a wok.”

The final menu would ultimately feature three varieties of ramen ($16 to $20), but it’s in the small plates and juicy Japanese meat skewers (yakitori) that Danny’s Izakaya stands out the most. Moi’s takoyaki – breaded and fried octopus balls – are irresistible ($13), as is her tuna tower, which, while more cake than tower, includes shimmering pink chunks of tuna, crabmeat chunks, tiny translucent masago and tobiko pellets, and drizzles of unagi caramel sauce ($24). Steak skewers ($22 for 3) are lean, well-seasoned, and well-done, and a chicken katsudon—fried chicken breast coated in panko over a deep bowl of sushi rice—is executed with confidence ($23).

It’s an important experience for its owners, this izakaya, and also for downtown Oyster Bay, as it continues to strive to become a true foodie destination.

Danny’s Izakaya is at 94 South St. in Oyster Bay, 516-786-3400, dannysizakaya.com. Opening hours are Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Closed on Mondays.