The abundance of Japanese restaurants found in and around Metro Vancouver means that we get to enjoy sushi and ramen whenever we want.
But there’s a newcomer in town offering a type of Japanese cuisine that many of us may have never even heard of (which clearly means we are missing out on something very delicious).
Dosanko (566 Powell Street) has just opened in Vancouver’s old Japantown, and it specializes in yōshoku (native Japanese home-style food that uses Western cooking concepts and techniques).
The 3,000-square-foot restaurant (with 1,500-square-feet allocated for the dining room) can easily accommodate 55 guests. The interior is moody and full of charisma, complete with exposed brick walls, hanging lights and lanterns, and plenty of wood elements.
Co-owners Nathan and Akiyo Lowey are excited to bring this type of Japanese food to the city. They both have a great amount of experience in Vancouver’s restaurant scene: he was previously a chef at Campagnolo; she managed the front-of-house at Tojo’s.
“In Vancouver, Japanese restaurants mostly mean sushi or sashimi,” said Akiyo to the Straight in an interview at her new eatery. “But we’re going to do home-style yōshoku, which is kind of a Japanese take on western food.”
“[Yōshoku] is simple, and everything has to be perfect. And that’s totally how I approach food,” Nathan told the Straight inside Dosanko. “I don’t put a million things on a dish just for the sake of it. Everything is there that needs to be there and tastes really good together, and that’s what yōshoku is like.”
The husband-and-wife duo emphasized that this specific type of Japanese cuisine will be very much like eating something your grandmother makes at home. It’s comforting and tasty, and will make you feel like you’re chowing down on something made by the Japanese grandma that you never had.
Some of the featured menu items include tempra (seasonal vegetable tempura), tonkatsu (panko crusted Heritage Old Spot pork), omu-rice (Japanese omelette stuffed with chicken fried rice and tomato sauce), chanchan-yaki (Hawkshaw salmon with market veggies), and okara-hamburg (minced pork, beef, soy bean crumb, demi sauce), among others.
“The hamburg will come out on an iron plate,” said Nathan. “Once you smell our hamburg, you’re going to be like “Dang! I’m addicted!””
Besides appetizers and main dishes, dessert will also be a big part of the menu. Expect to find mouth-watering sweets such as parfaits, a rotating selection of tarts, chocolate cake, and matcha milcrape (layered crepes with green tea and white chocolate cream).
Lunch specials include onigiri (rice formed in a triangular shape filled with a salty ingredient), Japanese-style sandwiches on house-baked milk bread, and donburi (Japanese rice bowl dish with proteins and vegetables).
Dosanko’s culinary creations are made with organic, locally-sourced, and non-GMO products whenever possible.
Its liquor program features local wines and beers, natural wines from France, as well as Japanese whiskies, beer, and sakes.
“Vancouver already has so much knowledge on the Japanese food, so I think they are ready to go to the next step,” added Akiyo.
“To us, [yōshoku] is just Japanese home-style food that translates to anyone who can try it,” said Nathan. “It’s a perfect pick for Vancouverites who are so used to trying so many different types of food.”
Scroll through the photos below for a look at what Dosanko will be serving up.