Sherman's Food Adventures: Dosanko

Dosanko

The Yoshoku scene in Vancouver can often be described as limited.  Other than a handful of places, it really isn't a thing here.  However, yoshoku cuisine lovers rejoice as there is a newly opened spot in town called Dosanko.  Husband and wife team of Nathan and Akiyo Lowey (formerly of Capagnolo and Tojo respectively) have taken over the spot that once housed Fat Dragon, where they now serve up Japanese home-style cooking that are interpretations of Western dishes.  Mijune and I decided to hit up the place, but were unaware that they had been only opened for a week (hence the lack of signage).

We started things off with Aki's Salad consisting of greens, sesame, lentils, beans, chickpeas, quinoa, beets and blueberries.  It was lightly dressed with a koji vinaigrette.  Despite the list of ingredients, the salad itself was fairly simple and straightforward.  Things were fresh with varying textures.  This was refreshing, yet I would've liked to see a touch more acidity to wake up the flavours.  Next up was the Kimpira sporting burdock and carrots pickled in a sweet and spicy soy sauce.  The mouth feel of the crunch was appealing while the sauce was well-balanced with a hint of sesame.

If the next item looks like chicken karaage, your eyes don't deceive you.  Stated as Zangi on the menu, it is merely the name of the dish in Hokkaido.  Their version was quite good coated with potato flour, it was lightly crispy (could've been more so) and easy on the grease.  Each piece was juicy and succulent while being well-seasoned with garlic and ginger.  If one needed more punch, it was served with a side of salt.  Consisting of a few different items, the Tempura was coated with a super airy and light batter.  It was a touch oil-logged though.  The veggies included onion, purple carrot, green bean and shiso leaf.  The shiso leaf was actually the greasiest, but I enjoyed it the most due to its flavour and crispiness.

One of our favourite dishes was the Miso Saba.  The mackerel was tender and flaky while maintaining its meatiness.  It was mild-tasting, which was a good thing as the sauce was pretty potent.  At Dosanko, they do not used bottled sauces.  Rather, everything is house-made.  Hence, the sweet miso sauce was intense and concentrated.  It tasted original and not very typical.  The syrupy sweetness was pretty strong, but there was enough saltiness to even it out.  Since it was a pretty warm day, we were happy to see the Hiyashi Chuka (cold ramen) hit the table.  These handmade noodles were very al dente and were flavoured with a tasty sesame soy dressing.  On top, there was tender shredded chicken, cucumbers, carrots and sesame.

Presented in a hot clay pot, the Curry Rice was bubbling hot.  On top of the rice was a generous blend of tender ground pork, cheese and pickles.  The result was a rich concoction that was meaty and stringy from the mozzarella.  The flavours were sweet, but fairly mild.  We found the dish comforting, but would've liked to see a rice crust (despite it not being a prerequisite of this particular dish).  Served with house-made tonkatsu sauce and sesame seeds that we would grind ourselves, the Tonkatsu was lean and meaty.  We would've liked to see it tenderized more, but it wasn't chewy.  On the outside, the panko coating was appealingly crunchy.  We loved the tangy, sweet and slightly peppery tonkatsu sauce as well as the side of koji mayo.

Another classic Yoshoku dish was the Okara Hamburg Steak with Rice.  The patty consisted of minced beef, pork and okara (soy bean crumb).  It resulted in a meaty and lean patty.  It wasn't dry though and it sported a caramelized sear.  The sauce was sweet and tangy with concentrated depth.  As a result, the root veggies were super sweet where they soaked up the sauce.  This went well with the side of white rice.  Moving away from all these larger dishes, we tried the Gomaae featuring string beans marinated in a sesame dressing.  I found the beans to be lightly crunchy.  The dressing was sweet and lightly aromatic. 

Onto dessert, we had the Coffee Jelly Parfait, Cherry Tart and Matcha Mille Crepe.  As much as the food up until this point had been pretty solid, the desserts needed some work.  The coffee jelly was too stiff and too mild-tasting.  We found the mille crepe to be rubbery and dry while the matcha was barely detectable.  The best of the bunch was the cherry tart as it boasted sweet and tangy cherries on top.  The pastry cream wasn't too sweet, but wasn't smooth enough. It was pretty unfortunate that the desserts didn't match the savoury items in terms of execution because it is nice to see another Yoshoku restaurant in town.  But it had been open for only a week, so there is still some time to grow.

The Good:
- All house-made sauces and food
- Nice people
- Good to see another spot serving Yoshoku cuisine

The Bad:
- On the pricier side
- Desserts need some work
- An A/C unit should be their next purchase

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