Friday, October 5, 2012

Sushi, Ganko Style

Years, or maybe even months from now, when the addictive music and lyrics of the viral hit "Gangnam Style" will have erased itself from my brain, the title of this post will be completely innocent.  But for now, I type it as my head bobs to Psy's beat.

Ganko Sushi translates to "stubborn sushi" (I looked that one up).  Originally started in Osaka, it's now a popular chain in the Kansai region.  It was our second night in Osaka and we were walking along Dotonbori, in the Namba area, hungry for dinner when we came upon Ganko Sushi's well lit and inviting sign. 

 Ganko's mascot is a slightly scowling sushi master, his lips set in a straight, strict line.
According to their website,  "ganko" was  the owner's childhood nickname but now also refers to the chain's "stubbornness" to always provide the best food and ingredients, and not to compromise on quality.

Ganko Sushi is essentially a casual restaurant. This Dotonbori branch features a long sushi counter and several booths for diners on the first floor.  There was a good mix of locals and Japanese tourists enjoying dinner but it looked like we were the only foreigners around at the time.

The restaurant has gone beyond sushi and offers a wide range of well known and popular Japanese dishes.  For my non vegetarian dinner companions, the menu was a colorful riot  of choices.

While they were busy making up their minds on what to order, I was busy contemplating my cold cold glass of Asahi draft beer.  Perfect for the still warm September evening.

 Because Ganko Sushi is a popular chain, it's tourist friendly and offers an English menu.  An extensive tofu selection meant that I wouldn't go hungry in this sushi restaurant!  There is life beyond tamago nigiri after all!

I ordered yaki atsuage as an appetizer -- this is tofu that has been grilled then deep fried. Or was it deep fried first, then grilled?   With a squeeze of lime and a smear of fresh grated daikon, this was a great starter dish and perfect with my cold glass of  Asahi draft!

I love miso paste so this plate of atsuage dengaku was just too good.  Deep fried slabs of tofu spread with a thick topping of miso then broiled to  get a slight char ... this was unbelievably tasty!  Only in Japan have I been able to enjoy this kind of authentic and very generous serving of miso paste.

Stuffed and sated with tofu and beer, it was time to head back out to enjoy the vibrant and lively Dotonbori scene.  As I walked past the sushi counter, I couldn't help feeling sorry for this poor lone fish, swimming in his tank.  Soon, he would be on someone's plate.
This "ganko" vegetarian enjoyed the evening and the meal but wished that she could have set the fish free -- out on the Dotonbori River flowing just outside Ganko Sushi.

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