You want to eat Japanese food, but not sushi or ramen? Go to Japanese Don Dining KOUNOSUKE in Utrecht and try their don dishes. Don is a rice bowl topped with meat, fish or vegetable. Toshimi Saitou recommended this gem in Utrecht and invited us to eat there.
Appetizers and sake
Besides don, KOUNOSUKE also serves appetizers for drinking sake or beer. The food that we ordered (pickles, eggplant, gyoza, tamago and karage) really brought me back to Japan. The quality is high and the pickles reminded me so much of Japan. Saitou and Lazy Penguin also tried several sake’s. They were smooth and nice.
I had a beef don (sliced and grilled ribeye with sweet ginger sauce). The marinate was sweet and salty, the beef a little bit dry, but that was okay because of the toppings.
I enjoyed the toppings the most. You can add a topping to your rice-meat-bite to experience a total new taste. There were sesame seeds, salt, spicy flakes, two types of ginger, mayonnaise, lemon, fresh wasabi plant/root, yuzu sauce and seaweed. Imagine all the combinations you can make! The yuzu and fresh wasabi were new to me. Quite interesting how a little dot of topping can change the whole experience.
You would think that’s all, but no! When you are almost done with your rice and meat, you can add a broth (dashi) to your bowl and enjoy the don in a soupy way. On their website they have a very clear story about the three ways to enjoy the don.
Saitou and Lazy Penguin had the sashimi don and the pork don. They were also delicious.
KOUNOSUKE also serves Japanese desserts like matcha ice cream and pancakes filled with sweet red beans. We didn’t try them this time, so for sure the next time. Go check out their website for more beautiful photos of the food and the interior.