Nothing Wrong With Sticks
Stacked with Grilled Yummy Moist Meats
Pun at Zakkushi
“Longtime listener, first time caller”
I’ve dined at the Denman Zakkushi plenty of times since they opened but I actually remembered to take pictures the last visit so I could blog about the place.
Usually I forget to take pictures because the simple way Zakkushi serves their well-prepared charcoal grilled meats sticks are hard to ignore.
Another aspect of writing about a place the serves tongue and balls on skewers I’ve been leery of is how to avoid the innuendos and puns. With that respect, I’ll let y’all decide how much of this post was intentional or accidental, so groin away.
Some pics are not in the order I describe them; you may have to move up and down to find the right photo. I did label the items when I thought it would be helpful.
Let’s kick off the cheese fest with the Cheese Tsukune!
The chicken balls were covered in a gooey creamy white cheese (Swiss I think). The cheese went really well with the tender juicy balls of peppered chicken.
The Negi Tongue (Beef Tongue with onion sauce) on the other hand was a dud. It was too thin and as a result the meat was tough and chewy. The onion sauce was just a pile of minced onions and couldn’t help out the stiff texture of the meat.
In contrast the simple salt and peppered Premium Beef Tongue cut in thicker morsels was much tastier. The tongue was juicy, moist and fatty and had a better mouth feel.
The onion “sauce” returned with the Negi P-Toro featuring bites of juicy pork that has a great snappy texture. The bits of onion did add a pleasant flavour to the skewer.
I prefer the Nego P-Toro over the plain P-Toro. Both were grilled well but the onions in this case did make an improvement.
I know toro usually refers to the fatty belly portion of an animal but I always wonder if Zakkushi’s P-Toro was actually the jowl cut given the meat’s texture.
The grilled rice ball, Yakioni, comes in 2 flavours: butter and soy sauce. We got one of each flavour and I preferred the buttered one because I like the taste of butter.
Both versions had a crunchy exterior, tender interior with a slight charred flavour in addition to the selected seasoning. In addition, the bits of pickled greens went well with the rice ball.
The chicken gizzard was offally good. The pieces had the nice crunchy chew with a sanguine taste.
I expected the Umeshiso Yaki to be complex tasting but the sour plum sauce was too salty. It overwhelmed both the juicy dark meat chicken and shiso.
Another fowl stick of meat we tried was the duck breast served with a yuzu citrus chili paste. The duck was overcooked, bland and really needed help from the green paste provided.
The Kobe Tsukune was very tender beef meat balls and went well with the mustard. We blew through this order pretty quickly.
Another great skewer was the pork wrapped garlic stems. The texture and flavour of the garlic stubs worked really well with the thin slices of pork.
The only other greens thing we got at our meal was the grilled okra topped with bonito flakes. This was not money as it was still raw and quite slimy on the inside.
To complement our grilled items, we got an order of mentai kimchi udon. It was a great slippery, salty, umami rich slurp worthy noodle dish.
The only thing I wish was the large pieces of strong tasting kimchi were cut smaller so that they would be better mixed in with the udon and mentai.
Lastly, we order the Roasted Green Tea Pudding because it supported a Canadian wrestler hoping to attend the Rio Olympics. What can I say, I’ve got a soft spot for those who are trying to make their dreams come true.
I think the wrestler will probably do better than the pudding. The custard was quite bland and didn’t have enough tea flavour. The sweet red bean and whipped cream took over the dish.
There were definitely things that I would not order again like the okra, negi tongue and duck. However, the skewers aren’t that expensive and there are so many options that you can always have a good time at Zakkushi.
Normally if this visit weren’t for the blog, I probably would of doubled up on some of the tastier sticks for a better experience.
“Ba-dum-dum-tss! Thanks everybody, I’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip the waitress on your way out!”
Zakkushi on Denman
823 Denman Street