Friday, March 6, 2015

お好み焼「美津の」Okonomiyaki Mizuno (Since Showa 20)

Queues for food are a common sight in Japan. For this 70-year old popular Okonomiyaki restaurant in Osaka, I can say for sure that the regular queues are a result of the limited seats and not because of the food. Another reason is probably the higher rate of media exposure compared to other restaurants. Located in the noisy and crowded Dotonburi, Mizuno occupies two storeys; counter-seats at first level and table seats at the second level. The queuing time was fast for smaller groups of 2 or 3 but for my group of 7 pax, we had to wait more than 45 minutes on a weekday evening.

However, this is not to say that the okonomiyaki here is bad. They are delicious but after all, the taste of okonomiyaki cannot go quite awry with the mayonnaise and brown okonomiyaki sauce, can it? Mizuno is famous for its Yama-Imo Yaki (pic above) which costs a whopping of 1620 yen. I thought it was quite expensive considering the fact that you can easily get one for 500 yen. Fortunately, there is a few set menus that cater for bigger groups so I picked the one for 5-6 pax and added a few ala carte items.
Perhaps to increase the turnover rate of the tables, we were told that additional orders cannot be placed once we made our first order. What a stupid decision but we had to go along with it. The set that I ordered consists of those few best-selling okonomiyaki, including the No.1 Yama-Imo Yaki, No. 3 Negi-yaki and No.4, Modanyaki (noodles version).
They all tasted VERY similar and I can’t tell much difference between the okos except for the ingredients which diners have the liberty to choose two for each. Instinctively and logically, I picked the scallops and ebi (prawns).In fact because the okonomiyakis were so predictable or maybe forgettable, the dishes that left the deepest impression were the NON-okonomiyaki dishes. For instance, the teppanyaki garlic stir fry beef served with a trio of ponzu, salt and shoyu dip were irresistibly succulent and chewy. The teppanyaki bacon with beansprouts was even better. Staring blankly at the dollop of mustard and mayonnaise at the corner, I decided to mash everything up with the egg. The result was a messy pile of meat coated with sticky brownish sauce but truly salivating-inducing.
Part of the set menu included assorted cold pickles, spicy stir-fry konnyaku and garlic fried rice. The meal turned out to be approximately 1300 yen per pax, which is quite reasonable and able to satisfy our hunger pangs. However, it is not worth queuing more than 30 minutes for this since there are plenty of other options in this neighbourhood.
1-4-15 Doutonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0071
11am-10pm Daily
Access: 5 min. walk from Namba Stn. Metro Midosuji-line, 5 min. walk from Nihonbashi Stn. (Multi-language Site)

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