Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Finding Okonomiyaki in Columbus

One of my best vacation memories happened in Japan almost six years ago, when we were visiting friends who lived in Hiroshima at the time. They took us to a restaurant that we never would have found on our own, and we sat around the grill eating okonomiyaki. We ate a lot of new foods during that trip, but that was probably the best.

Since then, I've tried to find a place that recreated the okonomiyaki I remember from then. We found one place in New York City, in the East Village. It tasted similar, and it was cooked in the Hiroshima-style, with the layers of cabbage and toppings piled high, almost like a warm salad. After we ate there once or twice, the restaurant shut down.

I was excited to find one place in Columbus that served okonomiyaki, and we finally tried it last month. Unfortunately, it was made in what I understand to be the Osaka style. It was pretty much a savory pancake. (In my head, I think of it as Kyoto style -- we had it in the train station there, and I remember it pretty much being like pizza.)

Nevertheless, ZenCha Tea Salon was good. The okonomiyaki was filled with vegetables and topped with your choice of protein (I got tofu), along with a type of mayo and sweet sauce. While it was fun to fulfill my okonomiyaki fix, the real star of the show was the tea of the day: an iced rose latte. I don't drink much tea, and I drink absolutely no coffee (yuck), so I don't know much about them. In fact, I thought that latte referred exclusively to a type of coffee. My bad. The rose latte sample the server brought to the table was delicious and is worth a trip back to ZenCha on its own.

So maybe the okonomiyaki wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but I'll be back for the rose latte. And maybe next time, the blueberry lavender pancake.

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