I've kept coral reef tanks where I've held my hand in the briny water while cleaner shrimp cleaned the dead skin off my hand. I've captured small fresh water shrimp at a waterfall in Malaysia. I've cooked countless prawn dishes, and de-veined them as part of the preparation. I eat real sushi - not california rolls, atleast once a week. I grew up a rough and tumble Chinese Redneck-Hunter-Fisherman's Daughter and have seen my share of sea life in various states of liveliness (and dismemberment) but nothing prepared me for my meal at Zakkushi last night with J.
Appetizer: Your choice of...
Sashimi Seven (7 kinds of seasonal sashimi)
-- or --
Appetizer Trio Ankimo (Fresh monkfish foie gras), Gomaae (Boiled spinach w/ black sesame sauce), and Takowasabi (Octopus mixed w/ wasabi stem)
Optimistic J ordered the Appetizer Trio,and I had the Sashimi Seven. J was fearful of another Frenemies situation (Gyu's Salmon and his 7 friends, an experience so horrific we've dubbed it Salmon and his 7 Frenemies) so offered to try the Trio in the interest of menu diversity.
I felt pretty smut about our choices, as monkfish foie gras wasn't exciting me too much... This lasted until our meals arrived. On my plate was a lovely selection of snapper, salmon, tuna, sweet scallop, and beautifully presented... the penetrating and judging gaze of a raw shrimp with it's carpace shell removed. My friend Shianne - having the sensibilities of an average asian - would have marveled at the freshness of the shrimp and thrown down the delicacy without any concern but I was horrified. I clearly could not eat it and each second of its beady eyed stare only increased my loss of appetite. In a decisive act of action to save me (thank you J!) J flagged down the waitress to take it away. but not before I covered the atrocity with a napkin like a funeral pyre.
I was in too much shock to capture the experience.
Don't get me wrong the sushi was a wonderful quality but I had let down my entire yellow nation in proper representation. Shame. I could hear the words of condemnation at my waste.
Here is the actual dish without the head.
Here is Jenny's appetizer trio. The Monkfish Foie Gras ended up tasting like cheese. The Gomae I've had before at other places, and I can say this place had one of the better versions of it I've ever had. It was not too saucy or salty.
The last item was a spicy chop of raw octopus and wasabi stem. Delicious but unusual. A little bit slimy. I found it an interesting gastro experience but not something I'd eat again.
Entree: Your choice of...
~Meet the Meat~ Sukiyaki (5 oz of sliced AAA Angus beef, tofu, onion, knotted yam noodle, shiitake and Japanese green onion in a hot pot) & Kushi San Bon (3 charcoal grilled skewers of Me Maki, P-Toro and G Beef)
-- or --
~Sea of Love~ Seafood Trunk w/ Uni Sauce (Grilled white tuna, prawn, scallop, tomato and asparagus on steamed rice w/ sea urchin sauce) & Orient Clam Miso Soup
-- or --
~Japanese Tradition II~ “Kishu” Plum and Shredded Kelp Udon (Japanese premium sour plum and shredded kelp in Udon noodle soup) & Nigiri Sushi (4pcs of seasonal sushi)
The next course was excellent. I had the Sea of Love (praying it came cooked). And Jenny had Meat the Meat.
My pre-Entree was a lovely miso soup served with delicate clams. Jenny had an assortment of three Kushi skewers which were asparagus wrapped in mystery meat - we hope it was proscuitto, a fatty pork, and garlicy beef. Very tasty. We've resisted looking up what they actually are as with most Asian restaurants ignorance is bliss. These items are plentiful on the Zakkushi Menu and can be ordered a la cart. The Skewers never had a chance. We ate them before we could even consider taking a photo.
The Sea of Love was beautifully prepared seafood (YAY! It was cooked!) with asparagus, tomato and a sea urchin sauce (the sauce I couldn't taste and thankfully had forgotten it was listed as an ingredient as I adored this dish and the Urchin sauce would have put me off if I had thought about it too much. This dish was comforting and delicious. I could eat it every day.
Jenny had the Meat Hot pot, and it was delicious. We couldn't identify the flavor but it was unusually delicious. Familiar yet strange. I felt it had an almost liquoricy - star anise flavor. Very enjoyable in that it challenged our senses. The meat was quite fatty but tender and the mushrooms were juicy from the soup. Most enjoyable were the Yam noodles which had absorbed the delicious broth and proved to be a wonderful receptable for bringing more pleasure to my happy mouth. Lovely.
Dessert: Your choice of...
Giapponese Panna Cotta (white sesame panna cotta w/ maple raspberry sauce)
-- or --
Matcha Ice Cream w/ Red Bean Lady Finger
We both decided to have the Panna Cotta as Matcha Ice Cream - while our favourite flavor - is common in Vancouver. Zakkushi's version had a slight sesami flavor, but had a lovely rich texture. Executed well! The Maple Raspberry sauce provided just the right amount of sweetness. I enjoyed this dessert immensely.
This was a
Menu for $28 /head. Had I not driven I would have definitely have added the $10 Sake pairings to the meal. A wonderful experience over all - oral adventures, a full tummy and emotional turmoil. What more can you ask for in an evening?
Given my low brow humor, I'd also like to mention that I found their menu entertaining. Can you see why I'd think this? Mmm Noodles!