The Japanese culture in British Columbia is centuries old. They came as fishing families and stayed. In Vancouver, the restaurants that sprang up were largely sushi places. Real Japanese cooking was found in the home kitchens of what is now loosely called Japantown. It’s those somewhat homespun interpretations of B.C. ingredients that have formed the basis of the menu for this lively restaurant.
Dosanko began with a single dish: nikujaga, (at left) a hearty stew comprised of meat, potatoes, and vegetables simmered in a sweetened soy sauce. Closely associated with Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, and considered yōshoku, a “Japanized” interpretation of Western cooking, this dish was what Sapporo-born Akiyo Tani first prepared chef Nathan Lowey when the couple met in Edmonton over 10 years ago. “Her food tasted like it was made by the Japanese grandmother I never had,” recalls Nathan.
Delicious, comforting, and authentically Japanese—yet accessible for West Coast palates—the cuisine struck a chord with Nathan. The duo set out to share the food with the world.
Dosanko, then, is both a reflection of the Loweys’ mixed-family traditions and an ode to Akiyo’s native Hokkaido. Pairing recipes passed down from Akiyo’s kin and Nathan’s formal culinary training and experience cooking in some of Canada’s most highly regarded restaurants, Dosanko serves a selection of home-style, seasonally inspired yōshoku and classic Hokkaido plates with an emphasis on fresh housemade ingredients and a mottainai or “no waste” philosophy. They are even fermenting their own miso and shoyu. The dashi is made from scratch in-house. As foragers themselves, they chose the the name “Dosanko” because it refers to a breed of horse that foraged the Hokkaido terrain when the Japanese settled on the island in the late 19th century.
The menu includes tonkatsu, a popular Japanese meal of panko-crusted and deep-fried pork cutlet enjoyed alongside a bed of cabbage and Okara-Hamburg, a minced pork, beef, and okara (soy bean crumb) steak topped with a special Demi sauce. The complex sauce ingredients are pictured on the left. Their house made udon noodles are served in a duck bone broth soup. It’s enriched with pan fried duck breast and duck meat balls and then topped with naganegi (Japanese leek) and shredded fried beets. Mackerel is braised in sweet miso sauce and there’s always omu-rice, a fluffy, chicken-fried-rice-filled omelette.
The desserts are very appealing. The Japanese style cheesecake, a special treat, is served with poached rhubarb, Japanese knotweed with syrup and sweet elderflower tempura. The bread pudding has a twist in that it’s served on a sizzling hot plate.
Situated in Vancouver’s historic Japantown, the restaurant has become a gathering place for the city’s Japanese community, many of whom attend Canada’s oldest Japanese language school just blocks away.
Contact Dosanko at the number below to reserve a Food Day Canada table.
Contactez Dosanko directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre Journée des terroirs réservation.
100-566 Powell Street
Vancouver BC V6A 1G9