I had put Zakkushi on my list of places to try for a long time (and I have an extensive list!) and the Main St. location was pretty convenient to visit but I never went until last week. Zakkushi is situated in a corner of a plaza right next to Beefy Beef Noodle but since they’re only open at night it’s very easy to miss it during the day. There are also only two parking spots so don’t bet on that. The interior was quite small and my friend and I got a booth for two situated by the wall. The booths were very small and I was literally right next to the wall but it was cozy as well. I’m pretty sure that if I became overweight in the slightest it would not be very cozy anymore…
I love how they had such a large and colourful menu! Moreover, when the food came they actually looked like the pictures! Besides yakitori skewers, they also offer sashimi, appetizers and a small selection of hot tapas. There is also a separate menu of daily specials. It’s pretty much an izakaya style restaurant specializing in yakitori.
First we had the kobe beef meatballs and the mochi maki. The kobe beef meatballs were extremely soft and tender. Absolutely delicious! The mochi maki looks like chicken in this picture but I assure you that it’s mochi. I’ve never had mochi grilled before nor have I ever contemplated it but since I love mochi I had to try it. It was quite soft, a bit stretchy but not hard to chew. The exterior wasn’t hard either although it may look like it in the picture. Although it was an interesting experience, I think I prefer my mochi sweet and un-grilled.
Next we have the norimayo sausage, the gyu tongue and the negima (grilled chicken thigh with Japanese leek. The sausage tasted very much like a mini Japadog sausage. The gyu tongue was thinly sliced and tasty as well. The negima was surprisingly good since I thought the leek would make it taste weird but the leeks actually absorbed a lot of flavour and actually tasted a lot like the chicken. At this point, I was starting to notice that everything was on the salty side and they were starting to taste the same. Also the portions were super small!!! At a cost of approximately $2 or more per skewer, I expected a little more.
Next up we have the nankotsu which was soft chicken cartilage and the p-toro which was pork belly. The chicken cartilage was … crunchy? The p-toro was less crunchy but still juicy and very delicious as well! As you can see, it was sliced very thinly.
This was the Zakkushi set which included (from top to bottom): momo (sauce), umeshio yaki, p-toro, me maki and oropon beef. It was served with some grated radish on the side. The momo was just chicken thigh with some sauce. I’m not sure what sauce it was but it may have been slightly sweet. The umeshio yaki was chicken with plum sauce wrapped in a basil leaf. I really liked the plum sauce and once again the chicken was juicy and tender. Everything here seemed perfectly cooked! The me maki was garlic stubs wrapped with pork. I had no idea what garlic stubs were but they reminded me of asparagus a lot. I like that it gave it some more texture and the pork seemed a bit like bacon. I also didn’t notice any garlic flavour or else it was over powered by the salt. Lastly, we have the oropon beef which was AAA beef. The beef was nicely cooked and also juicy and tender. Yes I noticed I’ve been saying juicy and tender for everything and that’s because it’s true!
Our last two skewers were the cheese tsukune and the norimayo tsukune. These were just chicken meatballs. The cheese didn’t not seem to go well with the chicken even though cheese does go well with a lot of things this didn’t seem to be one of them. Furthermore, it was also just processed cheese so it didn’t seem too special and did not add any flavour to the chicken. The norimayo tsukune was very tasty again and anything with norimayo reminds of a Japadog so I enjoyed this too.
We also had a chicken teriyaki don topped with a poached egg. The Japanese really seem to like poached eggs on their rice. I admit I was never really a fan of poached eggs before but now I’m ok with them. Once again, the picture is very close up and it looks like the portion is larger than it actually is. The chicken was flavourful and the egg pulled everything together nicely.
For dessert we had a green tea tiramisu. Yum! I love tiramisu and I don’t think I’ve tried a green tea version before so I was very excited about it. It did not disappoint me at all! Underneath all the mascarpone cream was some wonderfully flavoured and moist green tea cake. I would have liked it if the cream layer was a bit more stiff though since it was about the same texture as melted ice cream but not quite if you know what I mean.
I had to take a picture of the bill because the first item was 1 smile! So cute! =) We were pretty conservative with what we ordered and all the items were under $2. On the other hand it was pricey (which we expected) and not very filling so we could have used a couple more skewers but we used all our will power to resist! Overall it was a very enjoyable experience because we tried a variety of different things! I think the only other downside would be that they all seemed a bit too salty due to using sea salt. Especially after you eat a lot of them! I would probably prefer other more traditional izakaya places like Guu or Suika (see my post here) but you should try Zakkushi at least once!
PS. they also have a really cool (albeit small and narrow) bathroom! This is the sink and you have to turn the two valve handles and then water will come of out of the bamboo style pipe! How cool is that?