Chapter 3: Zakkushi Charcoal Grill – Denman
Freshly recovered from the heavy drinking on Friday night, I headed out to English Bay on Saturday afternoon with CL and some friends. After tanning and playing frisbee for a couple hours, we headed to Zakkushi on Denman for dinner. Zakkushi is a Japanese restaurant that specializes in BBQ skewers and the decor was traditional Japanese with an open kitchen so you can see the cooks grilling up your order.
Zakkushi offers set meals which combined booze and appetizers together. CL and I shared the sake combo ($9.99) while the others ordered the beer combo. Our combo consisted of a small bottle of sake (4 cups of Gekkikan) and 3 small appetizer samplers including spicy tuna, fried squid legs and fried black cod. All the dishes tasted nice and fresh with the spicy tuna being my favourite. The fried items were under seasoned for my taste but were perfectly cooked and crunchy.
After our combo, we ordered the Zakkushi set ($8.50) and Negi P-Toro Don ($7.20). The Zakkushi set consisted of 5 skewers that are considered their specialties. The set arrived in two batches, the first three being umeshiso yaki (bacon wrapped asparagus), p-toro (pork belly) and oropon beef and the last two being momo (chicken thigh with teriyaki sauce) and me maki (chicken thigh). The oropon beef was my favourite because the grated daikon added a much needed punch of flavour. The other skewers tasted really mild and were not memorable. Another problem I had was the extremely small portions. I could eat a skewer in two bites and at $8.50 per set, I expected slightly bigger portions.
The Negi P-Toro Don came with grilled pork belly, green onion sauce, seaweed and a poached egg. The combination of the fatty pork and the runny egg made this dish extremely rich and flavourful. CL and I devoured it before I remembered to take a picture.
Since we were still hungry after the rice filler dish, we decided to order a couple more items that I thought was interesting. The first being the grilled chicken wing. This chicken wing was cut open and flattened to decrease its cooking time. The skin was perfectly charred and crispy but flavour wise it was lacking just like the previous skewers. The other skewer we ordered was the grilled quail eggs wrapped in pork belly. This skewer was my favourite of the night because the textures were balanced perfectly. The egg on the inside was smooth and soft while the crispy charred pork belly added crunch and juiciness to the dish.
Last but not least, we ordered some fried chicken to finish off. This is no ordinary chicken karage though. This dish is called Nankotsu and it’s deep fried chicken knees. The fried chicken pieces were very crispy while the cartilage in the chicken knee provided even more crunch. This dish was good but tasted exactly the same as the Chinese version.
Although we weren’t really satisfied with our dinner at Zakkushi, it was still an eye opening experience because we got to taste another form of Japanese cuisine. The food was a little bland for my heavy taste buds and the small portions does not reflect the high prices. Needless to say we won’t be returning to Zakkushi in the near future.