There are a few places that I visit on a regular basis that my friends, even I myself, start to question; do I really need to take a picture of ___ for the 100th time? It has gotten to the point that I choose what to shoot and post now, which brings RC and I today to another revisit Zakkushi, just to find out that has revamped its menu along with a slight price increase.
It was a highlighted drink on their Specials menu, hoping it would taste more like Calpis and less Korean Yogurt Soju, I ordered it to give it a try. It came in a rock glass, pretty decent amount for the price, but tasted terrible and lukewarm. Since RC was not a big fan of it, I had to down it like a trooper and just stuck to the house cold sake.
Kushiyaki – uzuramaki (bacon wrapped quail egg), cheese tsukune (chicken meatball), tomato, negima (grilled chicken thigh with japanese leek)
Zakkushi did away with the grilled Negi, the only substitution I had for it was the salt version of Negima. The usual staples are as good as always, I’ve never had anything bad from their regular menu. Everything was cooked nicely with a hint of char.
Uni Shooter – sea urchin, tamago tofu, ikura, yamaimo
A reinvention of Octopus Garden’s I’m assuming, sans the quail egg in exchange for ikura. Being at the same price point as the Uni Sashimi, $13.50, I expected a pretty solid dish since the original for Octopus is under $10. Most likely it was the cost for the ingredients, despite me liking each one separately, it fell flat and uninteresting mixed together.
Jalapeño Nikuzume – deep fried jalapeño stuffed with chicken meatball
Different from a jalapeño popper, but equally tasty. Though there’s no cheese, it is stuffed with their seasoned tsukune and the sauce was the best part. The jalapeño themselves were not really spicy, it was the sauce that provided the extra kick. Deep frying it gave it a crunchy texture, whereas traditional nikuzumes were grilled or pan fried, similar to the Chinese version of stuffed chili peppers. I thought it would have suited Zakkushi’s image more if they had skewered and grilled it instead, but I’m happy with (almost) anything deep fried.
Cheese Onigiri – grilled rice ball with melted cheddar cheese
If there was no mention about the cheese being cheddar cheese, I would have thought it was American cheese instead. This was RC’s pick, the only reason I have to order onigiri is for the pickled mustard greens on the side.
Sunagimo Ajillo – roasted chicken gizzard & king mushroom in garlic oil sauce with toasted baguette
Another new item that had been added on their regular menu. The bread was not toasted, not even slightly, and the ‘garlic oil sauce’ was just straight up EVOO with chopped up garlic. The tiny pieces of mushrooms and gizzards were all submerged in the oil, and served up in a ramekin. I’m not too sure the purpose of the bread, I couldn’t picture how I would have incorporated it with the dish, needless to say this was not an appetizing dish.
Kushiyaki – kabocha (japanese squash with butter) & tsubugai (welk with sea salt)
Just two new skewers for our encore since the oiliness from the previous gizzard dish outdid the both of us. The Kabocha was surprisingly really good, it was cooked nicely providing the nice char and texture, it wasn’t overly crumbly but still tender. The Tsubugai was just alright, had a nice chew but nothing interesting.
I was not a fan of some of the new installations on the menu, and I do feel the service to be lacking for this visit, but there will constantly be people here for this niche. Not to say that Zakkushi’s standards and food are slowly declining, but I do feel that Vancouver should get a new Kushiyaki bar for friendly competition and a change of scenery, instead of more ramen joints.