I waited. I saw spray painted tags all across Bushwick reading “Okiway Okinomiyaki”. I watched the hype and buildup on instagram as Okiway posted many a “coming soon to Bushwick!” message. To think, Bushwick’s very own spot for that most quintessential of Japanese drunk eats - Okinomiyaki! I hardly contained my excitement.
Okinomiyaki literally translates to “grilled as you like it”, making it a sort of analog to nachos - just throw whatever you’ve got in there and it will almost always be delicious. It originated in Osaka, which is kind of to Japan what “The South” is to America. By that I mean it’s where all the fatty, belly-busting comfort food comes from and everybody loves it.
Okinomiyaki is a pancake/omelette hybrid stuffed with cabbage and topped with thick, sweet okinomiyaki sauce, kewpie mayonnaise (another Japanese staple), aonori (blue seaweed), beni shoga (pickled ginger), scallions, and razor-thin shaved katusobushi - dried, fermented tuna flakes that perform a mesmerizing dance in the the steam heat wafting off the Okinomiyaki. It is a glory to behold.
Okiway itself is an Izakaya - “I” means “stay” and “sakaya” means a place that serves sake. The distinguishing factor between a Sakaya and and Izakaya seems to be the presence of tapas style small share plates and beer. Liken it to an english pub with heavy foods that can keep you drinking, and you’ll have a a pretty accurate idea of what’s up.
The interior is very simple and it’s accented by a fun collection of actions figures and colorful skate decks mounted on the wall.
More fun things on the menu include a wasabi beer that tastes like… well, a regular beer with wasabi stirred in. It’s a nice novelty item.
Also fun are the sake cups, which have a glass orb inside them that obscures a hidden image. It only appears when the cups are filled to the brim with sake. Yep, naked ladies.
I’ll be honest, none of it really struck me as amazing, but I did go only days after it opened and I know the trend - restaurants often start out rocky and get much better. I’m sure I’ll be back, because sooner or later a late night is going to come where I only want one thing - and I’ll know exactly where to go.