Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wa Okan Dining

Wa Dining Okan
3860 Convoy St #110
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 279-0941
okanus.com/
Boyfriend and I had a lovely experience the last time we were at Okan.  But somehow we never got a chance to make it back until recently. We finally got around to visiting Okan again on a cold winter December night (If you recall, we did have a cold spell in San Diego right before Christmas.  Hard to remember when we’ve been having such gorgeous weather.)

We didn’t have reservations, but we got lucky.  We went early enough to get a table at the bar. For those of you who haven’t been to Okan, here is a quick overview.  Okan is a small restaurant, offering japanese cuisine, with an emphasis in home-style dishes.  It’s best if you have reservations.  There is limited seating at the bar, and a few tables next to the bar.  The bar is the best place to be because you get great service as well as a full view of the tapas dishes.  In addition to a normal menu, Okan offers a daily special menu, as well an array of tapas-style dishes which are laid out on the bar.  You can look at the menu for the full list of tapas dishes or you can simply point to ones you want.  The dishes are already precooked and they will scoop out a small plate for you and prepare it.

On my last visit, I had ordered various items from the regular menu, special menu and the tapas.  I had liked the tapas best, so I decided to order mainly tapas this time around.

This is the macaroni salad:

 

The sauce was creamy, the vegetables crunchy.  It was simple, and very tasty.

This is stir fried lotus root:

One of my favorite things about coming to Okan is experiencing new ways to prepare ingredients I am very familiar with.  I eat a lot of lotus root, but in Chinese cuisine, I usually see it in a soup form or stir-fried with vinegar and sugar.  I really enjoyed this version much better.  It’s like a lotus root salad, served cold.  The lotus root is thinly sliced and crunchy.  It’s mixed with a sauce that contains sesame oil and some other ingredients.

This is the cucumber salad with bits of squid.

Small cucumbers were used, which are extra crunchy.  It’s been a while since we ate this, and I don’t remember exactly how this tasted, but I remember liking it.

Tuna salad with daikon:

The tuna had strips of crunchy daikon which I thought was a refreshing twist on tuna salad.  One of my favorite parties of tuna salad is the use of celery to give it a crunch.  The crunch here comes from the daikon.  I’m going to try to making tuna salad with daikon next time.

Fried tofu with thick sauce

This was probably my least favorite tapas dish of the night.  It was made well, but my mom makes a similar one and I prefer my mom’s.

I don’t remember the name of this dish.  I do remember that we ordered it from the special of the night.  I believe it was some sort of meatball.  I was surprised that it was served cold because it seemed like a dish best eaten warm.  I didn’t really like it, but Boyfriend liked it.

Our final dish was king crab kettle cooked rice.  I was excited to see this on the special’s menu.  I love kettle cooked rice.  Basically, the rice is cooked and simmered in broth.  It is cooked in the kettle so that the rice has a harder texture.  It’s equivalent to chinese guo ba, or the korean bibimbap.

This is a picture, with two small bowls of rice already scooped out.

I loved the harder, crispier texture of the rice.  And the rice was bursting with crab flavor.  This was my favorite dish of the night.

Last time we didn’t have room for dessert.  This time, I made sure we had room.

We started out with the green tea tiramisu.

I was slightly disappointed with this.  I felt like it didn’t have enough flavor, and the mascarpone cheese layer didn’t have the right taste.

Next we got the pudding with black honey.

It came with a side of extra black honey sauce.  The pudding tasted similar to an egg pudding that I’ve had before.  The pudding itself is not very sweet.  But the black honey gives it the sweetness it needs.  This was my first experience with black honey and I liked the taste.  It did taste different from regular honey.  Like perhaps honey with brown sugar.

As always, the service was very attentive.  Our waters and teas were constantly filled.  Our bowls and plates were removed as soon as we were done.  The soft Christmas music playing in the background blended perfectly with the mood and setting of the restaurant.  We left feeling happy and satisfied. Here is the menu from the night:


Wa Dining Okan on Urbanspoon

 

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