Clubhouse Japanese Restaurant
255 W 2nd Avenue
Taking a clean cut approach here, going picture-less of the actual food as photos were not taken, and solely relying on a cropped image from Google Earth of the restaurant’s exterior.
Following an alcohol-centered gathering (to be written about at a later time after I collect all my thoughts), a post-event meal was had at this surprisingly satisfying little Japanese restaurant with an odd sounding name – Clubhouse. Mixed in among a row of commercial buildings along the busy 2nd Avenue corridor, its easy to pass by without so much as giving this place a second look, so it was fortunate we were on foot. Frankly, I’d seen it before but hadn’t really thought about trying it out, but a member of our posse suggested I’d be amused at how good it was, and with that we popped inside.
Immediately coming in from the slowly fading daylight into a darker room with a wooden motif which was clearly dated, it felt more like some kind of random pub. In fact, I’d guess it probably was used as that kind of space in the past and not much had been done with the interior since. But low and behold, a few of the tables were occupied despite it being later in the evening, a good sign. With just a little bit of room left in our bellies, our food choices were simple. Mine turned out to be a small plate of their deep fried and fresh baby octopus. Little tender morsel, body and legs intact together. Nicely done and lightly seasoned. And not a greasy mess either. Just the way I prefer it.
My other dish took longer than the others at our table to arrive. I should have been prepared for that, as anyone knows, a decent okonomiyaki can take some time to get it cooked through just right. Throw in the fact mine was loaded with various ingredients from the sea, I had to be patient. When it eventually did arrive, wow, I was impressed. Nothing like that overly stuffed and thick doughy mess that I had gotten years ago at Modern Club. This one was well executed, a crispy outer crust that led into a tender but not oil soaked inside mix of veggies and the seafood. Of course I’d asked for plenty of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) to be added on top – they ask you upon ordering, I guess some people don’t like it? The mix of sweet sauce and Japanese mayonnaise completed the presentation.
I would certainly come back to the Clubhouse for this again. Perhaps the best place in town from my experience so far for okonomiyaki. I love surprises and knowing that you can still find spots like this in the city, where the cover doesn’t necessarily convey the truth about the inside of the book, until you give it a shot.