Upon wandering around Gotanda, I was stunned by a familiar sign. Gottsui Okonomiyaki – could it be? There is a Gottsui restaurant in Los Angeles just 10 minutes from my college, and I had eaten there several times with friends. How surprised I was to find one in Gotanda!
I walked upstairs, and was greeted by friendly waiters who guided me toward a counter seat. I immediately asked about the Gottsui in Los Angeles, and the main chef told me that he had been there not long ago for three months. With the immediate connection, he recommended the two top dishes – the beef and cabbage grilled on a hotplate, and the Gottsui Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a mix of different ingredients cooked together in a way that resembles a pancake. There is usually cabbage, some sort of meat or seafood, and green onions, all mixed together in a batter and cooked on a hot plate. After the chef explained that the Gottsui Okonomiyaki in Japan was slightly different than the one in LA – yams and egg instead of prawn and potatoes – I decided to try it.
Sitting at the counter, you get to see all the action. The chefs cook all the food on the grill right in front of you. The chefs and the servers are all friendly, so the wait does not seem too long when they are engaging you in fun conversations. The main chef demonstrated the English he picked up while in LA, so first-timers and non-Japanese speakers will definitely feel welcome.
As I waited, I looked around the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant is covered in decorations. Some of the decorations give a vintage feel to compliment the traditional Japanese restaurant feel with its wooden interior. There are even places to take off one’s shoes and sit on mats, as well as sit-down at dining tables, in addition to counter seats. It was a fun playful mix of vintage and modern.
The okonomiyaki was small in diameter but dense throughout. The outside was super crunchy due to the well-done batter and cabbage, but the inside was nice and soft. The ingredients complimented each other well, and each bite was flavorful and satisfying. It was fun to eat it straight off the grill on the counter, cutting into it with the special spatula for eating okonomiyaki.
For dessert, I had their homemade coffee jelly with ice cream. It was not too sweet, but with the vanilla ice cream, was the perfect way to finish off the meal.
Gottsui Gotanda is only open for dinner, but the price range is affordable for a good, hearty meal. There are many different kinds of okonomiyaki with different ingredients, as well as other main dishes such as yakisoba and other foods grilled straight on the hotplate. The restaurant is located on the second floor of a building, so it looks a little bit obscure, but there are entrances and signs on both sides of the building. Check out Gottsui Gotanda today and enjoy good food and good conversation!
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Hi! I'm Karin Wu and I'm currently living and working in Tokyo. I took part in the photojournalism internship for JapanTravel in 2013, and I now contribute every so often when I can get out on the weekends. Writing is a passion of mine, and this site gives me not only an additional excuse to explore Japan but the opportunity to write about it and share with others!