I'm a 1st generation Japanese-Taiwanese American but this was my first izakaya experience.
I went with two other izakaya newbies at 8:30pm on Sunday night. After reading some Yelp reviews, I expected it to be loud, but was still a little surprised by it since it was Sunday night. Though the restaurant was packed, there was no one waiting and we were squeezed into some seats at the bar within a few minutes. The loudness was not caused by other patrons but by the waiters and chefs, who were shouting orders at one another in Japanese (or...sometimes, I even suspected, fake Japanese!) every other minute. It did contribute to the overall atmosphere though. The energy level was high. I bet most other places in town were fairly dead on a cold Sunday night.
The menu was interesting. No sushi or sashimi, as in a typical Japanese restaurant. We tried the pizza, beef tataki, tuna tataki, an egg croquette baked with pumpkin, ume soba, chicken wings, and almond tofu, among other things that I can't remember now. Everything was delicious, especially the ume soba. The soba was perfectly chewy, and adding the ume (salted dried plum) flavor was a stroke of genius. The almond tofu was even better than the one my mom used to make, which used to be my gold standard for almond tofu (sorry mom!)
Sitting at the bar was great, since we were able to see all the dishes passing by as they were ordered. My friends live in Vancouver and they definitely plan to go back soon to try some other dishes. I, alas, will have to wait for my next trip up north.