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Okonomiyaki please

  • t
  • tcube Sep 17, 2006 05:54 PM
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My husband and I are Japanese TV series fans and we have been wondering what okonomiyaki is like.

We tried the Yam okonomiyaki at Tanto that came in a small steel dish. We got totally confused because we thought it should be a teppan style, pancake/omelette, not the mush we got at Tanto. There are different regional styles.... What style did we have at Tanto?

I have scoured the board and gathered that there are a few places in SF: mufune, sapporo, Benihana, and Hiroshima Okonomiyaki House on Winchester, SJ.

Are these places still open? Are there new places in the Bay area?

t3

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  1. I think Hiroshima closed. And I'm not sure what style Tanto serves. Another place that has okonomiyaki is Izumiya in San Francisco's Japantown in the Kinokuniya Building. It is definnitely the pancake/omelette style. I don't think you can get any super-authentic okonomiyaki in the Bay Area, but my Osaka-born husband thinks the stuff at Izumiya isn't too bad. As for me, I'm not a big oknomiyaki fan. :-)

    6 Replies
    1. re: Wendy_san

      The okonomiyaki at Tanto is the one truly bad dish I've had there. Whatever style it is, I have to believe it's not a good version.

      1. re: Wendy_san

        I'll cast another vote for Izumiya. I've only had okonomiyaki in Japan once, but the version at Izumiya, if not "super-authentic" is at least recognizably in the authentic style. My personal favorite is their Mix Modern Yaki, which starts with a mixed ingredient okonomiyaki and tops it with yakisoba, a plain egg omelette and then the traditional okonomiyaki toppings. Really tasty.

        1. re: ahclem

          Mix Modern Yaki at Izumiya is my favorite. The other place I tried recently is Sapporo. I ordered the shirmp okonmiyaki, the shirmp was pre-cooked and tough that could not cut into pieces by fork. Stick with the ramen if you have to goto Sapporo.

        2. re: Wendy_san

          And another vote for Izumiya. The quality has gone down over the years... just five years ago, I remember that their modern-yaki had two Osaka-style okonmiyaki sandwiching yakisoba, topped with an egg. Now it's just one with yakisoba topped with an egg. Don't know how authentic it is but it'll satisfy the craving pretty well. There was also Mifune-don in Japantowne... I don't know if it's still there or if they still serve it but they had okonomiyaki with all the trimmings. I liked Izumiya's better, though.

          Oh Hiroshima :( That was such a great place for okonmiyaki and takoyaki. I miss it.

          1. re: muimi07

            of course, when i watched one of the cooks there making the okonmiyaki sneeze and then wipe his nose with his hand and go back to putting stuff in the dish, it reminded me of why open kitchens are a bad idea.

            1. re: muimi07

              Another vote here for Izumiya. Good enough version that's very tasty and hearty. Perfect for a chillier day.

          2. I've heard that Minako (Mission St at 18th) will make okonomiyaki if you call ahead and let them know that you'd like it. Their food is great so I'm sure their okonomiyaki is awesome, and authentic, too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mmmonica

              So far I know three different parties who have special ordered the okonomiyaki at Minako and they all disliked it. And, those are Minako die-hard fans. I'm waiting to hear someone rave about it before I order it there.

            2. Thank you for everyone's posting. I should remember to check chowhound even on busy weekdays, not only when salivating during the weekend.

              When I get to go to Izumiya or Minako, I will let you know if I like them :)))

              1. Just a brief update to report that you can get okonomiyaki in the South Bay at Sushi Masa, on 5363 Camden Ave in South San Jose.

                This was my first time eating okonomiyaki so I have no basis for comparison, but I really enjoyed it. The bonito flakes were dancing in the steam (the iron skillet was sizzling and the pancake too hot to eat right away). The (tonkatsu?) sauce was not drenching the pancake, leaving some texture to the browned crust but was enough for flavoring the pancake. I liked the high ratio of filling to batter (no doughy texture) and it was not overly cabbagey. The red ginger added a nice flavor and was subtle (not 'hot'). Good size (around 9" diameter) and price was around $8 (does not include rice).

                Photo: http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b39...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Alice Patis

                  I'm perfectly happy with the Okonomiyaki at Mifune in J-town.

                2. I had okonomiyaki the other night at Yoshi's during a jazz concert. It wasn't bad - thick, not too greasy or saucy (I could have stood for more), but it was very basic and could have used more meat and less dough. More food for your dollar than pretty much anything else on Yoshi's bar menu. I would say the ones I've had at Izumiya are better.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: coolbean98

                    I also had the okonomiyaki at Yoshi's Oakland recently, and it was decent.

                    My mother lived in Kobe recently, and on a few trips I came to love okonomiyaki, and have a decent sense of what it should be. It's a snack, a street food, a light dinner, a few things scattered over that particular dough / crepe mixture, piping hot, with the right sauce. The place we loved most was teppan style, and you had to call out your ingredients. With much shouting and festive Hai! they mixed up your order in front of you and you ate from the griddle. I don't remember printed menus, no obvious sign, but a large yellow fiberglass canoe propped by the front door when open - and long lines.

                    I was disappointed at Yoshi's that there was a collection of sauces piled all over the thing as it arrived, as the spirit of okonomiyaki demands a little more do-it-yourself, and I never remember a white sauce in addition to the brown one. I would have used less brown, and omitted the white. Yoshi's goes a little squeeze bottle crazy, imho. Of course, there's no calling the fillings.

                    Yet - all the elements were there, under the heavy sauce. Crisp, hot, packed with seafood although what seafood was hard to tell. Balance of elements was good - I didn't have coolbean98's experience of not enough filling. It was pretty danged tasty, although not the best I've had - although keep in mind that I was on my second manhattan, it was very dark, and the jazz was about 6 out of 10. Arguably perfect okonomiyaki surroundings (Kobe having a massive club district, somewhat easier to navigate than Osaka's).

                    The dish appears to be only on the club menu, but they're accommodating enough there - a special order from the dining room would likely be honored, I imagine, unless I simply overlooked it on the main menu.

                    PS. Is anyone else amused that Japan has Takko Trucks, semi-roving pickup trucks with propane grills selling octopus to the late night crowd?

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      Genki Ramen has okonomiyaki on their menu too. I've tried the veggie one and it was served on a sizzling platter with a metal spatula that you cut the okonomiyaki with. There were lots of veggies such as cabbage, eggplant, asparagus, shitake mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes. It wasn't topped with a lot of okonomiyaki sauce (we omitted the mayo), and came with bonito flakes and nori.

                      It's definitely not a traditional okonomiyaki, but tasted pretty good. There were lots of ingredients and not too much batter, so you don't get that heavy, "I'm eating a lot of dough" feeling. I haven't had other okonomiyakis in SF before, so I can't say how Genki's version compare to them. Here's a picture of the okonomiyaki ... sorry about my photography skills.

                       
                      1. re: dreamsicle

                        that's a great photo! - it makes me want to order it the next time I'm at Genki. :^)

                      2. re: bbulkow

                        be my guest, the Thai bistro on Clement Street at 11th Ave. has okonomiyaki as a dinner appetizer for $7.95
                        It's tasty but slighly sweetened; bonito flakes, sauce and a light mix of filling in batter, not overcooked — I'd order it again, for a snack.

                    2. Thanks for the updates. Seto Sushi in Sunnyvale serves a pretty good Okonomiyaki served from the kitchen, thus lacking the make-your-own experience. It was $13, slightly hefty for Okonomiyaki. Taste very good.