Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yet More Lunches @ Wa Dining Okan

Sharing yet a few more lunch meals I've had at Wa Dining Okan. It's almost the exact same format as the last, haha. More here while the rest are kinda scattered throughout my blog..
Before I forget you can follow Okan on Twitter now to check on their latest specials.

The same drill, you first order what they call the "basic set" for a very affordable $6.50. White hakumai can be replaced for the brown hijiki rice without extra charge.

The three daily changing tasters can range anything from very Japanese "Wa"fu to very Western influenced "Yo." (Easy to remember as "Wah?" for the maybe not so familiar to some traditional Japanese dishes to the "Yo! what's-sup.." somewhat recognizable Western influenced. Maybe this is a stretch.

Anyhow the first two - simmered taro root, flavored konbu, pumpkin salad; and asparagus with miso, oden, large chunky cuts of simmered bamboo shoot..

..above simmered potato with konyaku, tuna salad, another konbu dish, and below - potato salad, takenoko flavored with bonito and kinpira gobo (braised burdock root).

Homemade pickles and a miso soup packed with vegetables completes the smaller and healthy starter where a choice (or more) of weekly changing sides can be added that usually range from $2.50~$4. I've never been let down with any of Okan's vegetable or tofu dishes usually priced at the lower $2.50. Here's an Agedashi Dofu no Kinoko Ankake (fried tofu with a mushroom sauce).

Your agedashi-dofu with a small delicious twist. Below Grilled Bamboo Shoot and Asparagus dish that was also simply seasoned yet wonderful.

I just love large cuts of takenoko!

Going on to something more hearty. If you ever run into any Japanese Curry as a special at Okan I highly recommend it. Blows out of the water any other offered in San Diego (including the "Houses").

This day Gyutan Curry was offered off menu. The braised beef tongue was melty tender, their curry really hits that spot where it's simultaneously savory rich, yet lightly sweet and mildly spicy. I'd wish they kept it permanently on the menu but that may not be great for my diet, haha. Also you might want to switch to white rice when having but they'll usually ask.

I love that Okan always offers something with a creative modern twist. It makes me wonder sometimes if chefs of other Japanese restaurants ever watches television or reads food magazines. It's nice to stay classic but also nice sometimes to tweak, especially if you think of all the competition that's offering the same-o stuff. Sorry, rantling over..

Saba no Karashi-age - fried mackerel that had been lightly marinated in Japanese hot mustard. This was very tasty.

Below something more traditional, Mackerel braised with miso. But a simple sprinkle of fish powder made it particularly enjoyable. I wanted to pour the braise liquids over my rice but felt in the rather chic atmosphere of Okan would be a bit Ogyogi Warui... (おぎょうぎ悪い - bad manners). I still did it when no one was looking. :P

Miso soup break...

Rollu Kyabetsu - the familiar rolled cabbage sometimes called stuffed cabbage. Had a nice strong simmered flavor with the dashi and tomato. Sakura's can tend to be under flavored certain days.

Fried Chicken with Chili Sauce. This is your Karaage fried Okan style with a very light koromo batter, extremely juicy and tender inside. The spicy Chili Sauce was the tasty Japanese Chuka variant of what you would find in Ebi-Chili.

Last a bit more esoteric dish, Unagi no Yanagawa-fu Nikomi.

Grilled Eel simmered Yanagawa-style. From my understanding a Yanagawa-fu Nikomi is a small-pot type dish made by simmering meats with eggs, green onions and gobo burdock root in a good amount of dashi seasoned with soy sauce, sake and sugar. Here bite sized grilled unagi Kabayaki is used.

The result is a rather soupy but strong flavored simmer, to me not that far from what you'd ladle over a large bowl of rice to make into a tamago-toji donburi. Was definitely fun to try.

Okan keeps my lunches healthy but also timely. I could be in and out in 30 depending how quickly I eat. The weekly changing lunch is served Mon ~ Sat and is cash only.

Last I was there they let me know of a charity concert for Japan that will be happening at the new Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista, April 30th. It'll be live broadcast to Japan so check it out if you can! Facebook page here.

Throwing in a quick dinner I had with friend..

There's a beer set now with choice of three items from their Ozara offering on the counter for ~$10. Top is mine and lower my friends. The large cut simmered takenoko were delicious!

And the Gobo Mizuna Salad, no brainer..

That's all for now but see you again soon Okan... :)

Wa Dining Okan, 3860 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111


K and S said...

wow that gyutan curry did look good...I just made some rolled cabbage/stuffed cabbage last night...yum!

Dennis K. said...

Nice Kat! I used to make rollu kyabetsu too. I have a special tomato shaped le creuset for it. :) I need to start cooking more.....

OkiHwn said...

That place looks like a great place!

Dennis K. said...

Hi Nate, it's pretty nice and at lunch very affordable.