Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is often translated as a Japanese “pancake” or “pizza” with a cabbage & batter base, assorted toppings that range from octopus legs (たこ, tako) to cheese (チーズ, chiizu) to bacon, and typically drizzled with the sweet and viscous Worcestershire-based okonomi sauce. And for such delicious comfort food, okonomiyaki is pretty hard to find in LA (though there is no shortage of sushi, ramen, and izakaya joints if you know where to look!). So when we found Gottsui in one of the busiest plazas on Sawtelle, we were super excited. It’s appropriate that this Kansai-based dish had found its LA home in Little Osaka.
I was so thrilled that I went twice in one week, bringing along different friends each time.
After being greeted with a loud and hearty irrashaimase ( いっらしゃいませ), we were seated immediately and presented with heavy, laminated menus with cute illustrations depicting each of the many, many okonomiyaki and yakisoba dishes and their toppings. This lowered any language barriers and made it easy to point & choose as needed.
On my first visit, we were celebrating the end of a long week, so the boys ordered steins of the Kirin draft and I had a white peach shochu cocktail (もも チューハイ, momo chu-hai), sweet and balanced with just the right amount of shochu (a Japanese vodka).
As we sipped away, we could observe the chefs preparing other diners’ okonomiyaki on the huge teppan grill behind the counter. Nothing like the sizzling hiss as the cabbage and batter mixture first hits the griddle to really whet our appetites.
With so many options to choose from, I was a bit overwhelmed but decided to settle on the Seafood Okonomiyaki, substituting wasabi mayo for the regular. And boy was I glad I did! Filled with bits of squid legs, shrimp, and scallops and topped with seaweed (のり, nori), copious swirls of okonomi sauce and pale green wasabi mayo, AND dancing bonito flakes, this was really heaven on a skillet. The base was full of wilted cabbage, barely held together by tasty batter. I’m not a huge fan of cabbage but I LOVE okonomiyaki. With flavors reminiscent of my very favorite snack takoyaki (たこ焼き), this was so good that I ordered it again on my return visit!
Martin ordered the Trio Mushroom Okonomiyaki, topped with a combination of shimeji, eringii, and white button mushrooms along with green onion (ねぎ, negi), nori, and wasabi mayo. Deliciously earthy and vegetarian, I really enjoyed this one, especially since Martin opted to add one very crucial topping – a perfect fried egg with crispy edges and an oozy yolk.
At each visit, one of the people in our group ordered the original Gottsui which comes with pork belly, shrimp, squid, potato, fried egg, and mayo. Basically, it was an okonomiyaki with the works. This was also quite good and the potato, which I was skeptical about, was an excellent starchy vehicle for the okonomi sauce.
The last one that I was able to fortuitously sample thanks to friends who love to share was the Hiroshima – the only okonomiyaki with a soba noodle base (not the dark buckwheat kind, but the yellow noodles that put the soba in yakisoba). It was topped with pork belly, green onion, daikon radish, and nori and drenched in sauce that was sweeter and stickier than okonomi sauce. The texture was pretty interesting, although the noodles made the okonomiyaki more difficult to cut into.
My phone now will try to autocorrect “ok” to “okonomiyaki” when I type up text messages, thanks to that fateful week of coordinating not one but two visits to Gottsui. Now that I know where to find some yummy, hearty okonomiyaki on the Westside, you can bet I’ll be coming back!
Also, if you’re going to be in the LA area this weekend, be sure to check them out at 626 Night Market. They will be one of the many vendors this Saturday & Sunday (June 8-9th)!
Check out Gottsui: gottsui-usa.com
2119 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
See their Yelp reviews here!