Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dohtonbori SM North Review: Is it worth the wait?

Japanese restaurant? Sure, they are everywhere-- too mainstream actually. There's nothing to get excited about until this restaurant named Dohtonbori, went here with a strong game plan.
Dohtonbori SM North Edsa
Dohtonbori SM North

What is Dohtonbori?
Dohtonbori is a Japanese restaurant established in Tokyo during 1900 and have been giving joy to their customers for over 25 years now. They are serving authentic taste of Okonomiyaki not only in Japan but they also crossed overseas and opened branches in Bangkok, Taipei and Manila.    

Dohtonbori Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki


Okonomiyaki
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake without the sweetness and fluffiness of the regular  pancakes. Okonomi literally means "to one's liking" and yaki means "grilled". In other words, it is grilling what you like. You may put anything but the main ingredients are flour, cabbage, seaweed flakes, Japanese mayonnaise,  and original sauce.  


Dohtonbori SM North

Dohtonbori SM North Edsa is one of the two branches here in Manila. It took a while before they finally open this branch, probably 3 to 6 months. It is located at the upper ground level near/ across National Bookstore, while the first branch is located in Greenhills. It is divided into three dining areas: the usual dining, the booth dining and the traditional Japanese dining, Chabudai. A rectangular griddle is placed on each table for their so called 'Okonomiyaki experience'.


Greenhills Branch

Address: 8 Missouri st., North East Greenhills, San Juan
Contact No.: (02) 570 2765
Store Hours: 11a.m - 10 p.m
Facebook Page

Dohtonbori

Atmosphere
Everything was organized; chairs were provided outside for those who were in the waiting list. As we enter the restaurant, the well-conceptualized design made me feel like I was in Japan. Japanese posters and masks were hung on the walls, and some Japanese items  which made me feel quite nostalgic. I even asked someone if it was for sale, but unfortunately, it wasn't. The entire place was cozy and spacious to think they divided it into different parts. And since we requested for Chabudai, we had to remove our shoes, place it in the locker- each card number has a unique pattern, which added the experience.  

Dohtonbori

Menu and Price
You might think, with all those stuff and details in that restaurant, it must be expensive. Well honestly, as the menu handed to us, then I saw a 390 worth of bowl mixture, I thought it was somehow pricey. However, that being said, as we browsed the menu, it was actually reasonable. A bowl of ramen worth 290 seemed okay, as well as the 140 worth of parfait. If we consider the ambiance and great food, it was more than enough. They have 10% service charge by the way.

Check their menu here


Dohtonbori Menu

Service

The service was very impressive; staff were nice and welcoming. We requested for Chabudai seats and our request was granted without second thoughts. They were approachable and probably this was the reason why the whole experience wasn't intimidating. We asked a lot about their menu; we had no idea what to get. They  were knowledgeable and even recommended  their personal favorites. They were also well-trained; they were trained for three months just to learn how to cook Okonomiyaki. I just find it bit funny that they let us, customers try to cook our own Okonomiyaki but learning process needed to be that long. Anyway, we just let them cook our orders. 

They didn't use pen and paper to jot orders. They just memorized it. Sure, it was impressive, however, the staff who took our order made a mistake and served a dish we didn't order. It was not a big deal, at least to us, since Kit really wanted to try that. 


Dohtonbori Service

Food

Since we were not sure what to get, we picked our order, at least for the Okonomiyaki, based on the suggestions and personal favorites of the server. 

Ramen Tonkatsu - P290
Dohtonbori Ramen Tonkatsu

Ramen Tonkatsu, even it does not look that appetizing, has bit thickened tasty soup. It is not like the ordinary broth soup, instead, its flavorful taste will play in your buds and even lingers on the noodles. What makes it extra special is that, they make their own noodles. This is good for sharing if you have a small appetite.


Modern Yaki Mix - P390 

Dohtonbori Modern Yaki Mix


Dohtonbori Okonomiyaki

Modern Yaki Mix is the Osaka-style Okonomiyaki cooked with noodles and wrapped with eggs. I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but basically, it was topped with their original sauce, Japanese Mayo, and seaweed flakes. The flavorful taste of their noodles and sauce blended well with the Japanese mayo. My instant favorite! It was tummy-filling because of the pasta. Good for sharing. Anyway, it was cooked for 15 minutes. 


Kimchi - P90
Dohtonbori kimchi

I'm not fond of Kimchi, but I can say that this is the best so far. It was not that spicy, or over-powering. It was fried on the griddle as well, which added the texture. The amount of meat was reasonable for its price. 

Cheesy Pork Okonomiyaki- P240
Dohtonbori Cheesy Pork

Cheesy pork is one of the original Okonomiyakis of Dohtonbori.. They use mozzarella cheese, thin slices of pork and tempura bits. It has creamy and sweet taste, almost the same with the Modern Yaki Mix. However, unlike the MYM, it does not have noodles, instead just a pure mixture of veggies and spices, thus, not that filling. It's good though. 

Bottomless Iced Tea- P120
Dohtonbori iced tea

You probably wonder why I included this, it's merely an iced tea, but nah, this is one of the best iced teas I've tried. It doesn't taste like a glass of sugared drink.  There's a hint of real tea yet not over-powering. I have a small appetite, so I try to avoid bottomless drinks as much as possible. Thus, I just find it amazing as I had 4 glasses yet I didn't feel bloated or even sated, at all.



Condiments
Dohtonbori condiments
Each table has condiment section on the left side. Some of it are for Okonomiyaki seasonings. 

Kewpie Japanese Mayonnaise  

kewpie mayonnaise

Kewpie! My favorite! It's a household mayo brand in Japan; smoother and creamier than local mayonnaise. They provide each table with this, mainly used for their Okonomiyaki.. Well honestly, I believe it won't taste that heavenly without Kewpie. If you also like Pepper Lunch's salads, I bet they're using this too. 



PROS:
* Ambiance - Japan feels 
* Knowledgeable and well-trained servers
* Reasonable price
* Delicious food
* Clean and Organized
* Detailed Menu
* Well-conceptualized design
* Kewpie on each table :)
* Kid-friendly menu

CONS:
* Only 2 branches available
  * Bit huge griddle which makes the table bit crowded 
* Served a dish we didn't order

 Overall:
Great service, delicious dishes, and authentic Japanese restaurant experience, so YES, it is worth the wait!  Now, every time I see Japanese restaurant, I can't help but to compare it with Dohtonbori. I highly recommend this restaurant. It's worth a shot.  

10 comments:

  1. My friend was just talking about taking me there. I like how you taked about the Tonkotsu soup. I love Ramen and I think I will give that a try.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whaaaat? I can't believe the food is more affordable than expected. Japanese restaurants are usually expensive kasi. Hehe. Also, I love how dainty and peaceful that place looks. I hope I get to try this next time I visit north edsa. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love how affordable the foods are. Haha. I love eating and trying new. I;ll tell my friends about thisss :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've been wanting to try this resto for a while now and now I really do have to try it out! Their ramen looks so yummy and plus everything is so affordable!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm interested to try this restaurant. I think the food are reasonably priced. I'm kinda hesitant to eat in a Japanese restaurant that's a bit inexpensive because most of the time the taste is compromised.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The kewpie! I'm not really into japanese foods but this one looks appetizing.. maybe once in a while i should try japanese for a change, i'll include this on the list! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's a bummer that they only have two branches. I love Japanese food so much

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow! Looks delicious! I also love to eat Japanese foods especially kapag pasok sa budget hihi. Thank you for sharing xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm not into Japanese food but my dad's a huge fan. I think if ever he would convince me to try this restaurant would be the Japanese experience and also, somehow, to get the chance to try their best-seller.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My cousin and auntie who lives in Japan always look for Japanese food when they visit Philippines. Now I know where we will go.

    ReplyDelete