For a long time, Japanese cuisine in Vancouver was virtually limited to sushi and a few other standard dishes such as tempura. While sushi restaurants are still by far most numerous today, various other restaurant types have tried to introduce their dishes to Vancouver over recent years. Some have struggled, such as okonomiyaki, curry and Japanese pasta restaurants, but others have enjoyed great success, such as izakaya and ramen restaurants.
Today we visited Zakkushi, the pioneering restaurant to introduce Vancouver to kushiyaki, skewered foods grilled over charcoal. Zakkushi opened in summer 2004 at 823 Denman Street and has opened two more locations since then in Kitsilano and at Main Street.
Aspara Maki (Asparagus wrapped with pork)
I failed twice to dine at Zakkushi before, because the restaurant's popularity makes it difficult to get in without reservations. But today we finally enjoyed our first dining experience there. As soon as the charcoal smell of my first yakitori skewer entered my nose, I understood the restaurant's unbroken popularity: Zakkushi can easily compete with good kushiyaki restaurants in Japan. Their yakitori are excellent!
Tsukune (chicken meat balls)
Zakkushi features mostly conventional dishes, centered around the typical range of yakitori (grilled chicken on skewers), including tsukune (meat ball), momo (thigh), liver, heart and gizzard. The menu is complemented with a variety of appetizers and tapas style dishes and a sophisticated selection of alcoholic drinks. It is one of Vancouver's few Japanese restaurants that does without sushi on its menu.
Cheese mochi maki (rice cakes wrapped by pork and topped with cheese)