Wa Dining Okan is an intimate Japanese restaurant that specializes in home-style cooking. “Okan” means mother in Japanese slang, and every time I dine here, I do get a sense of coming home. It’s been a favorite of ours throughout the years, but it’s been a while since our last visit. Recently, we had friends visiting from out of town and decided to have dinner there.
In addition to a diverse regular menu, they also offer nightly specials, including several tapas. The tapas are already pre-made ahead of time and aren’t the prettiest dishes, but they are often the star of our dinners, so we always make sure to order a few.
Stir Fried Lotus Roots
Served chilled, this might actually have been everyone’s favorite dish of the night. This is one of my favorite tapas. I detected hints of sesame, soy sauce and sugar, but am not quite sure what else is in here.
Stir Fried Mild Pepper with Ground Beef Sauce
I wish they had heated this one up for us a little more. I did enjoy the flavors though, almost like a mapo-tofu dish but with soft peppers replacing the tofu.
Mackerel with Ponzu
Seared Wagyu Beef Nigiri Sushi
I found both sushi items were ordered to be fine, but a little underwhelming.
This is always a fun dish to order, especially if it’s your first visit. A mound of thin strands of burdock root sits on top of a salad of greens.
Fried Black Pork Sausage
Eel Egg Omelette
Deep Fried Shrimp with Sea Salt
Flavored Rice with Crab Meat in Kettle
Unfortunately, they started dishing out the rice before I could get a photo of the kettle and I didn’t want to make a fuss and stop her. It’s too bad because I love that the rice is cooked in a kettle. This is usually one of my favorite dishes here, but this time I felt that the crab meat flavor was a little weak and the rice could have been cooked a touch longer to develop some of that crustiness from being cooked in a kettle.
Black Sesame Ice Cream
We ended our night on a sweet note, with some house-made, creamy black sesame ice cream.
Overall, we had a solid meal here, though it wasn’t one of our best. Some of the specialty dishes were a little underwhelming, but the tapas still remain my favorite and the service was very friendly. Because this place is so small, reservations are recommended. I like to sit at the bar whenever possible. The full menu is only served during dinner. They have a much more limited menu during lunchtime.
Wa Dining Okan
3860 Convoy St, San Diego, CA 92111