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Sep 5, 2008 09:57 AM


OK hounds, news flash, the Martians have just landed in West De Moines Iowa and they have taken Shawn Johnson hostage. Just kidding. Better yet there is a new, extremely interesting venue in town called Wa Dining Okan. In the location of the old Yakitori K1, next to Nijiya market this Kozara Ryori style eatery is something I never thought I would see in sunny old San Diego. No signage, a menu predomently written in Japanese, I mean, this place is foodie cool. I am no expert on esoteric Japanese cuisine, but Okan is surely worth your time. For more information check out Kirk K's blog. (Don't miss the eggplant special, it made me weep with joy).

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  1. Made reservations for 2 Saturday evening and really enjoyed dinner that night!
    We ordered plenty...
    Gobo Salad
    Chicken and leek skewer
    Pork Wrapped Asparagas
    Shrimp in Mayonnaise sauce (3 times!)
    Spicy Chicken Karage
    Rice (sticky and buttery tasting)

    This time, they were out of most of the vegetable dishes I wanted to try..
    I'm planning to go back to have the eggplant, taro, squash, radish and tuna salad, and everything else!
    They have 4 specials laid on on the bar and you can get those to go if you like.

    I really enjoyed the food and atmosphere of this small japanese style pub.

      1. re: normalheightsfoodie

        Okan is located in a shopping plaza on Convoy, in the corner between Nijiya Market and Sage French Cake

      2. This place is great and just like Japan. We ordered similar to epicurious:
        Gobo Salad
        Chicken and leek skewer
        Hokke Fish
        Yaki onigiri ochazuke
        Side dish - napa and tofu
        Pudding dessert

        The Gobo salad is great, crisp fried strips of gobo great flavor. This place used to be Yakitori which is one of my favorite so I typically get chicken+leek which is a yakitori staple.

        I liked the Hokke fish, lots of meat with similar taste to grilled cod. My wife liked Tajima's fish more but this suits me more because it's more "meaty".

        The yaki onigiri is a crisp rice ball, which is served ochazuke style. Great. And we had one of their side dishes of napa and tofu which my wife really liked.

        They also have a great home-made style dessert which was a pudding asian style.

        Everything was good and very reasonably priced. At the counter are various side dishes you can order a dish of for about $3.75. Most dishes have a very authentic home-made taste similar to Yumeya in Encinitas. This place has been open for four months and is already mostly full, largely Japanese customers. It's casual enough to eat alone at the counter, but nice enough to take a date or your wife. Great decor and food - be sure to check out the specials written on the board outside.

        The location is literally next to Nijiya in Convoy, on its left. The sign might still say K-1 from back when it was just yakitori.

        This is the new place for me in Convoy, and in my opinion is as exciting if not more than Tsuruhashi one mall over (which I'd also highly recommend for yakiniku BBQ).

        1. Hey, I was wondering what opened up here! We saw the lights were on when we were coming back from Izakaya Sakura. It sounds good!

          1. Alright, we hit this place up tonight. Also suspect there were other hounds there b/c there was a larger than expected non-Asian contingent. REALLY good food! I had no idea of what I was ordering, just picked stuff off the menu that looked good. Everything was good, minus the fried udon noodles which were decent but wasn't like all the other dishes.

            Got gobo salad (yum yum yum. earthiness of gobo mixed with mizuna in a perfectly acidic dressing)
            cold tofu w/ kimchi (very fresh, soft tofu...good if you like tofu)
            chicken and vegetables on rice over a hotpot (board special. really, really good and looks deceptively simple to make)
            chicken skin in soy sauce (perfect if you like chicken skin)
            asparagus wrapped in ham (wonderful smoky flavor)
            mackerel grilled w/ soy sauce (very good but too full to finish)
            japanese yam w/ plum sauce (grilling the yam reduces the sticky texture. plum sauce is an excellent foil for the yam)
            deep fried chicken w/ spicy sauce (sauce was more sweet than spice but o/w good fried chicken thigh bits)
            chicken and green onion yakitori w/ salt (good. would try it w/ teriyaki sauce next time)
            tiramisu made with matcha green tea cake in place of ladyfingers (blissfully light and perfect after a very good meal)

            YUM YUM YUM!!!

            One question for those better versed in Japanese cuisine--are the dishes on the bar included, price wise, when you order off the menu?

            A total awesome addition to the Asian food scene!

            3 Replies
            1. re: daantaat

              Great report! With this place and Little Lamb in Convoy, there's so much more now than when I moved here in 2001. =)

              I think the side dishes at the bar were $3.75 each, so they're not included but a la carte. They serve it right there, so you can order it last if you're not sure about how much you'll eat.

              Great to hear about the tiramisu. All the dishes we had were made with Japanese tastes in mind, but I'm sure anybody who likes Convoy or shops at Nijiya will enjoy it.

              1. re: royaljester

                Next time we'll have to include the side dishes. They had lots of interesting ones---pumpkin (which looked like Kabocha squash to me), grilled saury, bamboo shoots and three other things that I forgot what they were.

                1. re: daantaat

                  I've tried the lotus root recently, I prefer this simple and crisp Japanese version over Chinese style.

                  We had their macaroni gratin from the special menu outside and it was our favorite. They got the onions right, and the top layer of cheese is baked brown. This is a popular dish in Japan and I'm glad they got it right.

                  I got my wife to translate the signs written behind the bar. First is handmade gyoza, then chicken + onion, then sweet corn, saba, and a sign that says side dishes are $3.75. These are the things you'll find in the big bowl, called "Ozara ryori" literally "food in a big bowl".