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Table: Zakkushi Charcoal Grill

Anata was in the mood for "something Japanese" so we ended up at Zakkushi for dinner. The place is located in the same plaza as Beefy Beef but at the corner and the parking spots even more limited; we ended up parking on Main St.

Inside the restaurant has a very organic decoration theme with wood, stone, and plant-like lights. Space is quite limited, but it's nice for couples because their side booths for two are cosy and intimate. They're really busy, so I would recommend making a reservation, but if you just show up at dinner time be prepared to wait a little. So far it's not been too bad with Anata and I waiting like 20 minutes for a table, but there are some people that come by and get told hour long waits and they are kind of irritated about it.

They change their specials on a monthly basis it seems, and they have some signs posted about some special Tuesday Ladies' Night thing they're doing. Checking it out on facebook, it seems that their special promotion is that for ladies, their $4.80 cocktails are offered for $2, with some restrictions on dates (not sure if there's restrictions on the drinks). So... cheap drinks Tuesdays for the ladies!

Starting off our robata journey we had two orders of scallop and one special terimayo sausage. The scallops were nice and juicy with a smoky flavour. I really liked the dried parsley that they sprinkled on top, as it added an extra layer of flavour while enhancing the natural sweetness of the scallop. The sausage was super juicy and was quite similar to a smaller version of a japadog kurobuta sausage.

Following that was two orders of the G Steak and a cheese mochi. The steak came with fried garlic on top, which helped add freshness to the meat. It was good for being juicy and flavourful but I think it was probably the weakest offering to come to the table for the night. I really liked the cheese mochi, really chewy, flavourful, and delicious. I'm a sucker for mochi haha :)

Next up was the chicken skewers which we ordered with teriyaki sauce. You have the option of salt or teriyaki, and I think the last time we had the salt which we found a little dry, so we stuck with the teriyaki this time. Really juicy, flavourful, tender chunks of chicken. The sauce is a little salty, but delicious.

Anata also wanted to try the lamb and beef tongue, so we had two orders of chops and one of the tongue. The chops were nice a tender, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, which let the quality of the meat speak for itself. Well done, nice crisp and sear from the grill. The beef tongue was also fresh and succulent. It crunched well with the natural texture from the muscle, and was really well done.

I tried the udon with the duck breast, and sadly it wasn't quite what I envisioned. The duck was kind of tasteless and I guess sitting in the soup made it lose the sear and it didn't seem juicy in the way the robata were. It was also just only 1 piece of duck in the udon, which I felt was a little disappointing. However, the broth was amazing - rich in umami from the dashi and really pure tasting, with some sweetness from the leeks and not too salty. The broth was definitely the star of this dish and I drank most of it.

We also ordered the salmon tartar, and it came in a small dish with garlic bread on the side. Anata really liked the combination of the avocado and salmon on top of the garlic bread, which he said imparted lots of flavour and added depth to the tartar. It wasn't quite the typical tartar where the meat is very finely chopped, but the avocado and salmon seemed to be in even sized chunks.

A closer look at the tartar :) The salmon came buried at the bottom, so you had to use the spoon to mix it all together with the seaweed and mayo.

I tried the O&M Ohitashi which was mountain yam (yamaimo) and okra. Really fresh tasting, crunched well but also had the natural gluey "stuff" that is good for you, haha. The bonito on top added some flavour, and I thought this was really nice and refreshing.

Anata ordered their chicken donburi which came with poached egg and pickled veggies. He wasn't a fan of the pickled veggies so I ate them all. I think overall it's okay, but there isn't much flavour from the egg and it's mostly based around the chicken in the bowl.

Last up we have the herb grilled saba which was Anata's pick for dish of the night. The herb crust was really tasty, kind of mostly italian herbs like the parsley, but it went really well with the crisp skin and added a lot of flavour. The fish itself was nice and juicy with smokey grill flavours, but as a warning for those not used to it, mackerel is a very boney fish, so there certainly were a lot of bones! I always advise eating with caution when there are bones on the table just because you don't want it to get stuck in your throat or anything. But aside from that, really yummy!

It can be a little pricey to eat the robata here but overall the quality is quite good. I haven't been too impressed by the beef skewers I've gotten, aside from the tongue, so I think if you just stick to other items like the chicken momo or the mochi it's fine. Everything is really yummy and juicy with great flavours. I liked the udon even if I didn't like the duck, because the soup really made up for it and some more.

It's a busy little place, but easy to see why since the food is good :)

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