As you guys may already observe with the ongoing trend, I love Japanese food. When I heard about the original hype of a local okinomiyaki specialty store opening up, I was stoked! As possible it is to find this dish in some Japanese restaurants around, there has yet to be one that specialized in okinomiyaki, until today – Fugetsu!
For those of you who don’t know what okinomiyaki, it’s a Japanese pancake that originated mostly from Kansai prefecture and Hiroshima. The variety between the okinomiyaki’s can vary very greatly, but the primary ingredient is made up of a batter of cabbage and nagaimo (Japanese yam). It’s coated in a okinomiyaki special sauce that tastes similar toWorcestershire sauce and Japanese mayo…just the thought of it makes me hungry!
The restaurant is quite small, and cozy. I would definitely recommend going with a small party of 4 or less. The tables are not really portable, they all have heated trays on them for your food to keep warm. This follows from original traditions of Japanese okinomiyaki restaurants. Usually in Japan they will cook it completely in front of the customers at their table. However, as we learned from the restaurant owner, because of health regulations in California, this was prohibited, so they could only put the cooked food displayed on a heated pan to recreate the experience as closely possible. To try to replicate the experience and fulfill the curiosity of people who want to see how it’s made, they’ve opened up the kitchen with a glass wall to watch the chefs cook the okinomiyaki first hand. Another observation about this restaurant is that it takes some time for the food to come. The owner is well aware of this and is working to optimize the process, but because all the food is raw to begin with and made to order, it will take a bit longer. Please be patient!
Ok, enough about logistics of the restaurant, let’s get onto the food.
N and I went for lunch and we went at around 1pm (dodging the main lunch hours as it gets really busy). Fugetsu has a specific lunch menu with the opportunity to try many different things at once for a reasonable price. Each dish was under $15 dollars during lunch.
I opted in for the lunch special of half an okinomiyaki and a small portion of yakisoba. I’m a huge fan of okinomiyaki, so I’ve got to say that was the better of the two, but both are similar but unique in their own ways. The noodles that are found in the okinomiyaki are actually different noodles that are used to make the yakisoba. The yakisoba noodles are more firm and textured whereas the okinomiyaki’s noodles are more soft and resemble a mochi like texture. The shop owner was explaining to us that it took around 3 months to engineer the desired texture and flavour. The noodles come from an original recipe brought from the Japanese Fugetsu!
N went for the modan order of okinomiyaki, specifically the negi tsukimi, which is okinomiyaki topped with an egg and generous amount of green onion. Upon trying this one versus my original okinomiyaki, I really felt that the negi tsukimi is the definition of a hot mess, haha. The thick layer of okyinomiyaki, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, along with the gooeyness of they egg and freshness from the green onion, really was a complexity of flavours and textures. These modan okinomiyaki really don’t mess around. Would definitely recommend it!
All in all, I thought it was a refreshing and fun experience that is different from other restaurants around. The wait is long, I agree, even when the restaurant wasn’t full of people, but I truly felt it was worth it. The store owner was welcoming, and humble — looking for criticism in order to grow customer satisfaction. If you are thinking about coming here, you can read more about the menu and ingredients here!