Yakitori at the Koreana Restaurant in Ottawa
The Koreana Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown is primarily a Korean restaurant, as the name suggests, but their menu has a fairly extensive Japanese section as well. I generally find that restaurants who try to serve two cuisines tend not to do a top-notch job on at least one of them, and sometimes even the primary cuisine suffers too. That being said, the Japanese dishes at Koreana were mostly quite good, especially their Japanese style Seaweed Salad. Unfortunately, the Yakitori appetizer pictured above really had little in common with the traditional Japanese specialty.
Yakitori, in Japanese, simply means ‘Grilled Chicken’, and there are plenty of variations on the basic theme. Many different parts of the Chicken are grilled on skewers but, typically, little else is included except Scallion. The sauce generally falls into one of two categories, salty, or salty-sweet, but generally the sweetness is not especially pronounced.
At Koreana, the dish consisted of very generous chunks of dark-met Chicken – the thighs, possibly – and these were interspersed on the skewers with Carrot, Green Pepper, and Onion. I realize that restaurants have to turn a profit, and bulking out the meat with veggies will certainly help in that regard, but, here, the vegetable quotient really was a bit too much.
I really couldn’t tell if these skewers were grilled or not, and, to be honest, I rather suspect they may have been pan-fried. There certainly wasn’t any of the tasty charring you get when grilling over the traditional Japanese charcoal fire.
The sauce, unfortunately, had little do with any traditional Yakitori sauce and, instead of there being a light glaze on the Chicken, the skewers were almost drowned in the sort of sweet-and-sour sauce that would be at home in a very Westernized Chinese restaurant. On the whole, the dish wasn’t all that bad, and might have rated higher marks if served in some other sort of restaurant under a different name. Unfortunately, the Yakitori at the Koreana strayed so far from what the meh8u advertised that I could only give it a Rating of 2 out of 5.