I didn't read about Zakkushi on Chowhound (found it on dinehere.ca/restaurant). When I showed the write-up to my husband he decided that he'd like to try it plus it was only about 2 blocks from our vacation condo on Alberni so no hassles with parking. The person who did the write-up said: "I love anything skewered and cooked over charcoal" - I think that's what got his interest (me too - I wanted to try Guu with Garlic and/or Hapa Izakaya on Robson too but not enough time).
We totally lucked out arriving at about 7:30 on a Tuesday night - got the last 2 seats at the counter. This is a small place and is apparently very popular.
The set up is much like a sushi bar (we heard that it was a sushi bar before the change in ownership). There's a counter around what would have been the sushi stations but instead of sushi they have grills that burn special Japanese charcoal called binchohan (sp?) - this charcoal burns very hot, hotter than mesquite. The menu is primarily skewered things that are grilled over this charcoal in just minutes and then served up on rustic pottery dishes. The skewers come 2 to an order and range from about $1.30 - $2.00 each piece. We enjoyed a fabulous variety of foods (a couple of the more interesting ones are quail eggs wrapped in thin meaty bacon with a thin drizzle of mayo and asparagus wrapped in the same thin bacon, chicken livers, beef tongue, all manner of chicken and meats and mochi - I never would have thought of skewering mochi and grilling it! - the grilled rice cakes are addictive too) and beer (there is a specialty sake and vodka menu too) for about $90 Canadian including tip. I just noticed on the back of their business card this menu description: "Yakitori: Negima, Tebasaki, Omochi, Maki, Nama, Tukune Tofu: Zaru Tofu with Yuzu Kosho, Yose Tofu
Cool jazz played in the background and whenever anyone walked in the grill staff greeted the newcomers in traditional Japanese style. There was just an energy in the room without it being overpowering the way some noisy places can be - we loved it and would be "regulars" if we lived in the area. Husband liked it so much that we went back on our last night... Now all I have to do is find something like it closer to home!
Zakkushi Grill Diner
823 Denman Street