Okonomiyaki is a savory food lover's pancake dreams. Instead of sugary batters and saccharine syrups, a flour, yam and egg-based batter holds all kinds of salty treats, from green onions to cabbage to meats and even cheese. In fact, its customization is part of the deal, as the dish translates to "grilled as you like it" in Japanese. At Bushwick's Okiway, an inventive izakaya that opened last week, the fun pancakes are the name of the game. Think of it like IHOP meets Burger King—only actually good.
French born Vincent Minchelli and his co-owner Amanda Jenkins have endeavored to create inventive, modern interpretations of Japanese comfort food while keeping some tradition intact. To help them, Atsushi Yokota adds his Japanese and French expertise as Consulting Chef, plus Morimoto alum and Executive Chef Michael Arrington operates the day-to-day kitchen. All those names and titles sound hifalutin, but the restaurant they've created is anything but; it's a casual place to sip a Wasabi Beer and stuff your face with mayonnaise-topped pancakes—among other things.
Beginning with the namesake okonomyaki, they're offering a Classic ($9) topped with pork belly, otafuku sauce and kewpie mayo, but they're encouraging diners to add additional toppings if desired. That means about a dozen options, including cheese, squid, okra and octopus. Leaving tradition behind there's a Mexican Osaka ($12), with chorizo, avocado, cilantro, chipotle and crema, another with pulled pork and BBQ sauce and a third topped with crispy ramen noodles.
Besides the pancakes, the kitchen mixes up Wasabi Guacamole ($7) with gyoza chips, a Daikon Vichyssoise ($5) that subs in radish for chilled potato, and also Takoyaki ($7), the beloved street food balls stuffed with octopus. Besides the aforementioned Niigata Wasabi ($10), sip on some Ozeki One Cup ($7), which come sin a can for your drinking convenience.
1006 Flushing, 718-417-1091; website