Saturday, February 7, 2015

Komorebi Okonomiyaki

Gourmet okonomiyaki -- YES!
Let me just state for the record: hen I make okonomiyaki, it's anything but gourmet: Mix some okonomiyaki flour and water and shredded cabbage in a bowel, throw in any leftovers sitting in the fridge, and vaguely try to copy the pancake-pizza hybrid I last saw either at a crowded festival stall or on a countertop grill in bustling Osaka. Teppan Okonomiyaki Komorebi is the antithesis of the okonomiyaki that come out of my kitchen.
The river is so clear it's easy to miss!
A handful of restaurants have opened in the past couple years, but Komorebi stands out. First, the mood of any visit is set before you even walk in the door, because Komorebi is located next to the gorgeous river that flows down from Shiratani Unsuikyo.

The interior has a very personal feeling, with ambient lighting and a very limited amount of seating.

I've never seen okonomiyaki made like this lady makes them!
I'm happy to notice there are two women working the grill, and on the wall I notice a sign for drinking party prices: One price for all-you-can-drink alcohol, and one price for free soft drink refills. According to their website, Komorebi also uses local products as much as possible. YES. Komorebi is this girl's kind of restaurant!

The menu looks pretty reasonable, except for the specialty: Tomato Okonomiyaki. We order a Cesar salad, a tomato okonomiyaki, and (lest we be actually healthy) a deluxe mix.
The salad is great. Fresh with lots of meaty bits and a big runny egg. It's half-gone before I remember to snap a photo.

When the okonomiyaki with the deluxe is brought to our table, it looks like pretty standard fair. . . but the first bite proves otherwise. The sauce is incredible. It's kind of citrusy and with a pureed texture, and it includes hints of locally caught and cured mackerel.

Thehead chef/owner explains that when she first left Yakushima as a young woman and tasted okonomiyaki in Kyoto she was blown away. For decades, she thought about opening her own restaurant, and for years she experimented to create that sauce. And yes, you can ask for extra sauce.
Have you ever seen an okonomiyaki like this?
Check out the detailing on those tomatoes!
The highlight, of course, is the tomato okonomi yaki, for which the chef brings out the torch and sears the pile of succulent tomatoes hiding the okonomiyaki underneath. Exquisite, and exquisitely delicious!

Location: Miyanoura 2560-27, on the road that goes to Shiratani Unsuikyo Park. (30.4145,130.567)
Hours: 11:30-13:30, and extra dinner hours on Fridays and Saturdays from 18:00-20:30. Closed on Mondays.*

*Hours of business may change, so please check the website or call ahead.

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