Zakkushi on Denman is a Japanese izakaya that the restaurant dubs as a "Charcoal Grill Diner". They do indeed use a charcoal grill and makes for a very flavorful experience. We were lucky to be able to be seated as we came in early around 6pm. However, since most of the space was already reserved, we got stuck in the worse corner in the restaurant, at the bar right in front of the entrance. The restaurant has a very simple design. Clean, but not much space. The grilling is done in the open right by the bar and you can even sit right in front and watch your order cooked to perfection. Zakkushi is among many of the increasingly popular Japanese izakayas in the Denman food corridor in downtown Vancouver.
Ebi Mayo(Deep-fried Prawn Skewers w/ Chili Mayonnaise Sauce) - First up, the classic Ebi Mayo. This is standard fare for an izakaya and if they can't prepare this properly, then there is something wrong with the restaurant. Thankfully, the Ebi Mayo here is delicious!
Kushi Set(5 Selected Skewers! Momo, Ninnuku Memaki, Shiso Maki, Gyu-harami, P toro) - Next up was an assortment of Zakkushi's grills. You normally order the grills a la carte, but they provide this as an introduction dish. A breakdown: Momo (Chicken Thigh), Ninnuku Memaki(Garlic Stubs Wrapped w/ Sliced Pork), Shiso Maki(Chicken Thigh Wrapped w/ Shiso Leaf), Gyu-harami (Beef w/ Japanese Radish & Ponzu Sauce), P toro (Pork). They were all pretty tasty except for the Momo. Definitely a must try dish for those who don't know what they want to order.
Dotekon(Boiled Daikon radish on Pan-fried Beef teriyaki) - This was off of Zakkushi's "Special Menu". An interesting dish. The broth was a little too rich for me, but the texture of the daikon had a fresh taste mixed in with the beef.
Beef Steak(Beef Sirloin Steak w/ Daikon Radish Garlic Chips) - I am unimpressed by this dish. If I wanted a hunk of steak, I would have gone to a steakhouse. This dish was a little over-charred on the outside and provided no distinct flavor. It's just steak, with some chips. No originality. The quality of the beef was good though.
Kawa(Deep fried Chicken Skin) - This was probably an unhealthy dish to order, but it's crunchy chicken skin! Yum.
Ebi(Deep fried Sweet Prawn w/ Herb Salt) - I did not like this dish at all. The ebi was not crunchy enough. It was a little mushy inside, and the contrast of the sweet prawn with the salt was too strong.
Uzura Maki(Quail Eggs Wrapped w/ Sliced Pork) - I love this dish, but that's also because I love quail eggs. The eggs give a unique contrast to the pork wrapped around it which tasted more (and probably was) like bacon than pork.
Oropon Tsukune(Chicken Meat Balls w/ Japanese Radish & Ponzu Sauce) - This was an excellent dish. Grilled Chicken Meat with the simple flavors of radish and ponzu. Light and tasty!
Dorayaki Ice Cream(Sweet Japanese Red Beans in Sponge Cake Served w/ Ice Cream) - This dish is AWESOME! The red bean cake is very light and pairs well with the vanilla ice cream sprinkled with matcha powder. I was actually confused at first. I thought it was Matcha ice cream, but realized it was just the sprinkles. It tasted like a light matcha ice cream. Definitely a MUST try!
I'm looking forward to trying the other Zakkushi locations, on 4th and the new branch on Main.
Zakkushi on Denman
823 Denman Street, Vancouver, B.C.
Service & Setting: 4/5
Cost Level: 3