After my first visit, I knew I had to come back to OKAN. And bring friends. More people must know about OKAN and eat there!
On my 2nd visit, the same coworker came along and I dragged two friends with us. Since one of them was a pescatarian, we stuck mostly with vegetarian or fish dishes. This time around, we ordered:
- 2 Kabocha pumpkin salads
- Braised pork – Nagasaki style ($8.50)
- Pan-fried pork homemade dumplings ($5.50)
- Grilled Hamachi cheek ($12.50)
- Green tea tiramisu
- Pudding with black honey
We also ended up with some grilled hamachi ($8.50) because the waitress didn’t realize we wanted the cheek.
So we ended up ordering pretty much all the same stuff as last time, but it’s because it was all amazingly delicious!!
The Kabocha pumpkin salad was as good as I remembered. I pretty much ate almost an entire bowl on my own. This is one of the “must order” dishes if you ever visit this restaurant. There’s just something about the perfectly cooked kabocha paired with the crunchy cucumber and whatever seasoning they use that makes this dish magical.
The next dish was the eggplant. We attacked the bowl before I got around to taking the picture. While it does not look appetizing, it was pretty good. The eggplant was nicely cooked and seasoned and had a lot of flavor though the texture was mushy. I think this may be a “special” menu item rather than a regular one as I don’t recall seeing it last time I was dining here.
Here’s a much better picture than in the previous post of the Braised Pork Nagasaki style. I would consider this another “must order” dish for OKAN diners. This really showcases how well the chef(s) at this restaurant handle red meat. The pork is perfectly cooked; it’s got lots of flavor and is never dry. I like how they leave a thin layer of fat as that just adds to succulence of this dish.
At this point, the waitress brought us grilled yellowtail. We had ordered the cheek but that seemed to have gotten lost. We told her we would eat it anyways since it was already at our table but we still wanted the cheek. The grilled yellowtail (which I apologize for failing to nab a photo of…it was a beautiful piece of fish!) came with a side of salt and green tea salt. I didn’t think the fish needed it as it was already seasoned well and had a bit of a soy sauce-based glaze on it. I had to try the green tea salt. Sadly, green tea being such a mild flavor, you didn’t really taste it.
The homemade pan-fried pork dumplings arrived shortly after we devoured the grilled yellow tail. These were nicely fried with a crispy bottom. The wrapper was not sticky or chewy and the filling was moist. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of green stuff in there. I think that overpowered the pork a little. Not the best dumplings I’ve had but better than some I’ve had at other places. If these were home-made, I couldn’t tell, because they were assembled as neatly as the store bought ones. The only thing that would convince me that this was home-made is the filling as I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. I’m not sure what the green vegetable in it was but it had a slightly peculiar taste I was not familiar with. I would have asked but the waitresses barely spoke English. Most of the patrons are Japanese, which, in my book, is a sure sign that OKAN serves good and authentic cuisine.
Our hamachi cheek arrived and it was just as good as last time. Consistency!! The top skin was cooked to a crisp; the meat inside was moist. And as before, this was a huge serving. The four of us did a number on this dish but we were already getting full from the previous entrees. One thing about OKAN is that even though you think you’re not getting a lot because the servings seem small and you’re sharing, you’re actually getting quite a lot of good food for a great price.
This time, they had the green tea tiramisu available. We ordered that as well as the pudding with black honey.
The green tea tiramisu suffered an assault from 4 spoons before I remembered to take a picture so the perfect square was ruined. However, you can see the nice green tea layers and the fluffiness of the lady fingers. This was a tasty and light dessert. You could actually taste the green tea which was nice. However, I think the pudding is better. The black honey…mmmmmm. For dessert, the pudding is imperative.
Overall, this was a better meal than my first visit because we didn’t have that horrible tuna and avocado roll. The service was spectacular as always minus the order mix-up which actually turned out to be beneficial for us because we got to eat another great dish!
OKAN gets upgraded to 5 NOMs!!!
Wa Dining OKAN
3860 Convoy St., #110
San Diego, CA 92111