Except instead of waffles it's okonomiyaki. And instead of classic fried chicken it's karaage.
I’m not usually the type to suffer from seasonal depression, but this year’s onslaught of rain, slush and snow has taken its toll on me. I’ve been tired and unmotivated and more than a little short-tempered—just last week my husband loaded the dishwasher “incorrectly” and I could have sworn the world was ending. But then there are sweet periods of relief that remind me of (literal) sunnier times, as was the case when I sat down for breakfast at Gyoza Bar, where Chef Woo Jin Kim has created a new Japanese-style brunch menu. You might be wondering how brunch can conjure memories of blue skies, but stay with me. Back in September (in upwards of 30-degree weather, I might add), I was sampling Top Chef alum Lee Anne Wong’s Japanese-fusion breakfast creations at Koko Head Cafe in Honolulu; her Chicky and Egg skillet (such a savoury dish for someone who’s obsessed with pancakes and French toast) was unlike anything I’d ever tasted—or thought I would ever taste again. But that was before I took a bite of Gyoza Bar’s Okonomiyaki and Chicken Karaage—a dish best described as the Japanese version of chicken and waffles. Except instead of a sugary, doughy waffle, Chef Kim’s rendition is anchored by a savoury Japanese pancake (this particular okonomiyaki had a perfectly crisp exterior btw), which supports a pile of sweet-and-sour soy glazed chicken karaage. Topped with a rich, yolky sunny-side-up egg, pickled Asian slaw and house-made tartar sauce, the dish somehow, despite the snow outside, instantly transported me back to sunny Oahu—and had me desperately grabbing for every last crumb with my chopsticks, a first for me at brunch (note: eggs are just as slippery as they look). So, the next time this cold weather’s got me down, rather than checking out the latest flight discounts, I’ll just head for brunch. Okonomiyaki and chicken karaage, $15, Gyoza Bar; starting March 3, brunch will be served 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays