Japanese cuisine at its rowdiest

I'VE passed through the tiny streetside restaurant several times when I walk home from work at night, but the place is always crowded, with at least five people waiting for their turn, sometimes more.

The thought of having to wait for an available table has been discouraging me from trying the place. But the crowd is telling me that food must be good. Then came food buddy Mabelle's invitation, because she happens to be friends with the owner and she can reserve a table for us.

The name is Kaizen Japanese Streetfood, a tiny restaurant just outside Davao Wisdom Academy or that street that curves from F. Torres Street to PDCP-Landco to exit to J.P. Laurel across MacDonald's Bajada. We had the only two tables inside the tiny space (all others are along the street) and we filled them tight.

There was Mabelle, her whole family and yaya that makes a total six, plus Emil, Christian, Jinggoy, Nina, and I. Yes, we were a big crowd and we were eating big! Except for the ramen, no one ordered a ramen. I think we ordered all.

It's difficult to recall everything. But that's when the real good ones can be remembered. Our favorite is the tuna tartare. It was among the best tuna tartare I've tried.

The Asuparabekon (asparagus wrapped in bacon) and the Japanese sausage chorizo were also very good. I liked my vegetable tempura except that it's missing okra. I wouldn't mind losing one or two slices of the sweet potato to two or three okras.

We also ordered the Godzilla Roll and the Du30 Roll. It's yummy if you like it a bit sweet (I don't), and their sashimi is a winner. Their Katsudon is really good, unlike all Katsudons I've tasted in the mall.

The rest, I was already in a food coma. It's really worth a try. But maybe it's best if you go there early in the evening. The sign outside with a sheath of paper and ballpen for the waiting list will tell you why.
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