Zakkushi on Main Street
There are 4 Zakkushi – 3 in Vancouver and 1 newly opened in Toronto. We usually go to the Zakkushi on Main because of all the ones available, this one seems most convenient (parking wise…), closest, and biggest too – which also means the least amount of echo from the traditional izakaya yelling. It is usually the least busy of them all as well. Some has argued the food is different between one another – not sure if that is true but then again, we haven’t tried them all either.
Zakkushi is probably the only izakaya place in Vancouver that specializes in skewers. They do have a rather extensive menu with a bit of sushi, sashimi amongst other things but their star is the skewers. Their menu has changed a 3 times since we have been there. We believe that it used to be better (the newly most updated version lost some menu items we really enjoyed before) but their skewers are still solid. Zakkushi can get quite busy and reservations, especially for big groups and on weekends, are likely needed. Their parking lot is extremely squished and you likely need to park on the side streets or metered parking on Main.
The Guy Score:
Spendable Time: They limit you to 120 minutes if they are really busy, especially on weekends.
Price Range: $15-$20 per person
Comments: Used to better in terms of menu items. Sad that we didn’t get the beef sukiyaki (the other table took the last one right beside us!)…it is definitely something we get normally. Like the ambiance and not too loud, especially considering it is an izakaya place. Food usually doesn’t disappoint with a few things that are quite spectacular. Not as good as Guu Garden though in my opinion!
What we decided to order:
Smoked Salmon and Avocado Salad with Wasabi Dressing – $7.80
Guy Food Score: 7.5/10
Recommended to Order: Decent salad.
Guy Comments: We used to order another salad from Zakkushi that was much better – forgot what it was but it contains avocado but don’t think it was smoked salmon. We started ordering salads because of Guu and Zakkushi did a pretty good one with Wasabi Dressing. This salad usually comes in caesar but I am not a big fan of that. Overall, the salad was good. The dressing (surprisingly not green…) was a bit too over powering and there’s a tad too much of it and I am not sure if the wasabi substitution works with this particular salad to bring it all together. The smoked salad is likely bought but the salad is fresh. The avocado was ripe and soft and everyone likes avocado in salads – just to me, at times, it just seems like there’s avocado on a salad (i.e. the avocado is not really part of the salad).
Guy Food Score: 8/10
Recommended to Order: Not bad, but this isn’t a sashimi place…
Guy Comments: Surprisingly, the sashimi was quite fresh! You did quite a bit of variety and slices for $15 but the slices are smaller than the average. Nothing tastes outstandingly great (e.g. Sushi Hachi quality) except the sockeye salmon does a pretty intense salmon flavour (I am surprised it doesn’t have that white lines, fat?, that you usually see in salmon…). The snapper was a bit bland but it is snapper…the tuna and hamachi were good. The sashimi did not taste frozen though – well rested to the right temperature. I did learn from this that you do use ginger with sashimi from my waiter….because I asked for some :(.
Various Japanese Skewers
Seasalt Negima, ($1.90) Aspara Maki ($2.30), Norimayo Tsukune ($1.90), Uzura Maki ($2.10)
Guy Food Score: 8.5/10, 9/10, 10/10, 10/10
Recommended to Order: Yes
Guy Comments: As we mentioned, skewers are the stars of Zakkushi and they are great. We used to order the Zakkushi set but ever since they reduced it to 4 skewers from 5, it makes more sense to order just what we like. The seasalt negima was great and you must have it with the lemon (in my opinion) – not dry at all. The aspara maki, surprisingly the most expensive considering it is vegetable, is wrapped in fatty pork which makes it extremely flavourful. By far my most favourite are the tsukune and uzura maki. The combination of the mayo and nori with the texture of a very moist and savoury Japanese chicken sausage or quail eggs is fantastic – the sauces just add onto their flavour without overpowering them. You have to try them, especially if you like Japadogs!
Yakitori Don – $7.50
Teriyaki Chicken with half boiled egg, green onion, seaweed, rice
Guy Food Score: 8.5/10
Recommended to Order: Good, but I’d prefer the sukiyaki or negi-p toro don!
Guy Comments: This is a pretty good don. Imagine the great skewers (except with chicken) in a don. However, I think because it is in the don, the rice does a lot in absorbing all the moistness of the meat and makes the nori harder to stay crispy. Also, I have never been a fan of having mayo in my rice. The saving grace of this is the half cooked egg which really combines the don together. It is still delicious, although not very unique/spectacular. I think the negi-p-toro don works better (in terms of putting a skewer into a don) because of the combination of the spring onions and half-cooked egg.
Zakkushi on Main Street Information:
4075 Main Street