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After returning from my recent ‘Food-Crawl’ holiday in Tokyo a couple of months ago. This week, I suddenly underwent a severe bout of ‘Yakitori/Yakiniku’ withdrawal! Taking advantage of yesterday’s fine weather and extended day-light hours, I decided to head downtown to my favorite Yakitori Izakaya – ‘ Zakkushi ‘ for a yummy, char-broiled, ‘Carcinogenic’ protein fix!
Not realizing they have changed reservation policy. I arrived at the door early, but without reservation, only to find a huge wait-line spilling onto the sidewalk! I was subsequently told the wait will be at least an hour long! Oh Well!
After exactly an hour, I was ushered into a ‘ Sakura ‘ decorated front-of-house, offered a table and told I have an hour before I need to vacate my table. I went all out to order a whole bunch of my ‘unhealthy’ favorites. Chicken liver, Wagyu Beef, Premium thick cut beef tongue, Bacon wrapped quail eggs, Crunchy Pork belly....etc. Overall, the meal was more than acceptable and very good by Toronto standard. Unfortunately, since I am only human, subconsciously, I was making unfair comparison with what I had in Tokyo. I have to admit, even though ‘Zakkushi’ has a total Japanese crew and uses imported Japanese charcoal for their cooking. Food quality and taste simply fell short of what was experience in Japan…especially the sauces! As an example, even the chicken liver skewer I had at a typical and common department store basement food hall – Depachika, tasted and cooked better than the Zakkushi’s version….a reflection of the overall high standard and quality of food found in Japan! However, I am more than happy to have such quality 'yaki' food in town.
BTW, based on this experience, I also found the food at Ju-Izakaya inside of J-Town slightly superior in taste, though menu choices is a bit limited. Guess for my future ‘Yaki’ fix, I’ll just stay uptown and save some gas money!