Gotsui (Okonomiyaki), Shimokitazawa

According to a tip from my good friend Nakamura Mikan, we went to try the salty Japanese pancakes Okonomiyaki restaurant "Gotsui". For those of you not familiar with this uber-popular cuisine, please check this extensive article.

As I wanted to check out what the bloggers said about the place beforehand, I did look at few sites which all agreed on one thing: the staff's friendliness and hospitality. Well, the below picture I took to give you an overview of the kitchen says it all I guess. Never asked them to even look at me but they stopped cooking for the pose...

Now, was the food as great as the staff's smiles? I definitely think so, though we only tried three dishes which were all recommendations from the house. The first one we opted for was the "Suji Shio Kabetsu Double", some firm and slightly fibrous stewed pieces of beef sauteed with cabbage, to accompany our beer as the waiter had informed us they needed a good 15 minutes to cook the pancakes. The dish wasn't spectacular but it was a good "B-Kyu Gurume" dish (B-grade gourmet), like they say in Japan to designate any good non-gourmet food.
As you can see on the below pictures, they bring and put your food on a hot plate incorporated in the table, so everything you eat is always nice and warm.

First of the main dish was the "Mix Yakisoba" (sauteed soba noodles with mixed ingredients) but their noodles are so thick that they look more like Udon to me. The ingredients were Ika (squid), Ebi (shrimp), Benishoga (red pickled ginger), tamago (egg), Ao-Nori (dry seaweed powder) and Katsuo-Bushi (dry bonito flakes). What nicely surprised me was that it was, like the other main dish we had, rather Usu-Aji (low on salt), when Okonomiyaki dishes can be sometimes be too strong-flavored.
Second dish was the house specialty "Gotsui Yaki", an Okonomiyaki with an upper layer of grated Tororo-Imo (Japanese Yam), hidden under the Katsuo-Bushi, the mayonnaise, the Aonori and the top dough on the below picture. The other layers are what seemed to me like the typical batter with pork and cabbage. I quite liked their specialty as the Tororo puree gives the pancake a nice texture and smoothes the richness of the overall flavor.

Two beers on top of the three dishes amounted to little south of ¥4,000 so I guess it's quite a deal at ¥2,000 per person. The service was like what the bloggers had to say, very nice and friendly. You do get out of there with your clothes a little smelly so bring another shirt if you're the paranoid kind on the odor issue.
My friend recommendation was their Negi-Yaki (a thinner version with chopped spring onion) and I am definitely going back to try it.

Gotsui is open
18:00 to 24:00 Monday to Friday
12:00 to 14:00 for lunch and 17:00 to 24:00 for dinner on weekends and National Holidays
Setagaya-ku, Daizawa 5-29-9
Click here for a MAP