Last week, Kitkat treated Jujube, Richa and I to dinner at Zakkushi Charcoal Grill in celebration of her graduation. Bill Nye the Science Guy is gonna have a guest appearance at her graduation ceremony. I’m super stoked for her to begin the next chapter of life. I’m sure it’s going to be full of challenges, accomplishments, laughter, good times with awesome friends and delicious food of course.
We had forgotten to make a reservation and were told that there was gonna be about a 45 minute wait when we arrived. Hungry, and not wanting to wait outside in the bone-chilling wind, we scurried off to 49th Parallel Coffee and Lucky’s to grab some coffee and gourmet doughnuts. About 15 minutes in, we got a call from Zakkushi telling us that they had a table ready for us, so we grabbed our stuff to go.
Zakkushi mainly sells Japanese grilled skewers by the stick, but they also offer appetizers and small dishes to share (or not to share).
The beef tataki ($8.70) was served in a spicy sweet sauce with a side of grated daikon and chopped green onions that you can roll up with the tataki. While the slices of beef weren’t as thin as I had expected, it was tender and soft nevertheless. The sauce was predominantly sweet with just a hint of heat. We all really enjoyed this dish and ended up ordering another plate for our second round.
Mochi is one of my favourite things ever, so naturally, I had to get the cheese mochi maki ($2.80/skewer). These were just okay. The cheese tasted like Kraft singles. The mochi had a nice char and was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. It had the right texture, but I felt like it was missing something in flavour. A sauce would’ve been a good idea.
We got one each of the cheese tsukune ($2.40) and nori mayo tsukune ($2.20). I only tried the cheese one, but the other tsukune probably tastes the same, but topped with mayo and seaweed instead. My cheese tsukune pretty much just took up the flavour of the cheese melted on top, I highly suspect it’s Kraft singles processed cheese. The chicken meatball lacked seasoning and did not have that plump, juicy quality I was looking for.
The ebi mayo with house cocktail sauce ($8.80) was great. The batter was thin, crispy and light tasting. While I’m sure they used frozen shrimp, it didn’t have that freezer taste and the consistency of the shrimp meat wasn’t mushy at all.
The appetizer sashimi platter ($16.80) came with 2 slices each of albacore tuna, sockeye salmon, yellowtail, scallops, spotted prawns. You can taste the quality of the seafood in this platter. Everything was fresh without any hints of fishiness.
For $8.90, this mentai kimchi udon was incredibly small (don’t be fooled by my picture, my close up shot makes it appear much bigger than reality). This one pales in comparison to the one at Guu. It did not have enough mentaiko (pollock roe), and it’s a little on the bland side.
The karaage ($5.80) was decent. The chicken was juicy, lightly battered and fried. It wasn’t oily at all. However, I felt like it didn’t pair well with the daikon oroshi sauce. It would’ve worked much better with a mayo based sauce, or something more savoury. The chicken kaarage weren’t really seasoned on their own.
The first plate is comprised of premium beef tongue with just salt and pepper ($4.70/skewer), negi p-toro ($2.50/skewer) and duck breast in a citrus ponzu chili ($3.80/skewer). The second plate has the g beef ($2.60/skewer), oropon beef ($2.60/skewer) and more negi p-toro on it because it was yummy and we wanted seconds. The g beef came in a teriyaki sauce topped with minuscule garlic chips that were more like crumbs. The oropon beef was topped with grated daikon and ponzu sauce. The quality of the meat were good, none of them were tough or chewy but flavour-wise, I felt like seasoning was on the mild side, with the exception of the negi p-toro. The chunky negi onion sauce was addictive, and I found myself putting it on the other skewers.
We had also ordered zucchini, but our one vegetable never made it to our table. Our server probably forgot to put our order in. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.
Overall, we had a great time, I even learned something. While we were browsing through the menu, Richa had come across the term bukkake and everyone found that super amusing. Confused, I asked what it was all about, and my friends had referred me to Google, advising me to turn the safe search on and to keep away from images. Needless to say, it was inappropriate. Bukkake is the noun form of the Japanese verb bukkakeru ぶっ掛ける, to dash or sprinkle water, but I can see how this can also be easily used to describe less innocent acts. Please excuse my hentai friends. (Lol! Jokes). Anyway, Zakkushi was decent, but not as satisfying as I had hoped. Definitely not up to par with the the places I’ve been in Hawaii and in LA. The skewers were more flavourful, and for a fairer price. With the abundance of Japanese restaurants, I would expect there to be more yakitori restaurants in Vancouver, but unfortunately, it seems that we’re still premature when it comes to Japanese grilled skewers. The market is definitely there, and competition is rather lackluster as of now. Might I add, skewers are also very profitable considering that they’re usually sold a few dollars per stick. I think it’s only a matter of time before more yakitori spots pop up. I can’t wait.
ZAKKUSHI CHARCOAL GRILL
+1 604 874 9455
Riley Park & Little Mountain
4075 Main Street, Vancouver