satisfying Japanese at Gohan

I’ve been to Gohan several times through the years and usually for lunch. The selection is good and when I don’t feel like waiting in line at Fukada, this suffices. The restaurant is really nice, minimal decor, clean and uncluttered. Service is pretty good as well even when it gets busy.

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A bowl of house-made potato chips and lotus root chips are set down for you to enjoy while you peruse the menu.

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We started with Chicken Karaage ($7), usually my favorite, but this was just okay. The portion size is a little on the small side and the coating to moistness ration is average. I would’ve like more crispy exterior, but it was just passable.

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My son loves Agedashi Tofu ($6) and this one was just as good as any you’d find anywhere else. The accompanying sauce was nicely seasoned and neither overpowering nor teetering on the bland.

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Our favorite appetizer was Portabello Tempura ($7.50), meaty pieces of portabello mushrooms with a light crispy batter. The dipping sauce was decent and I would totally order this again.

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I wanted to try the Chicken Katsu Curry because I make this often at home but am too lazy to make it from scratch. I use the packaged Japanese curry which really isn’t all that great but is fast and easy. Unfortunately, the curry tasted not much different from the package kind. If you want curry, go to Curry House.

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If you are hungry, I highly suggest the combination meals such as Zaru Soba Combo ($12.25). It comes with your choice of an accompanying item. The soba tasted like the Korean version rather than the Japanese ones. The former has a chewier texture than the latter.

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Pair it with Spicy Tuna Don, a generous portion which I usually can’t even get to if I ordered the combo. The don is good but not as spicy and also doesn’t have as much mayo as the one at Fukada — which is a good thing for me.

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If you’re looking for something soupy, Sansai Udon ($11.75 as part of combo) is a great choice. The broth is hearty and flavor-filled with a good amount of sansai (mountain vegetables) to boot.

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Combine the udon with Beef Yakiniku over rice for a really filling meal. The beef is tender and a tad sweet for my liking, but my friend really liked it.

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Katsu Donburi wasn’t bad either if you like donburi. I’m not a fan of katsu on donburi because it makes the katsu soggy. Perhaps I could ask for it on the side? The donburi itself was good.

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Gohan is a great little place when you want some home-style Japanese food. Although it is Korean owned (I found out recently), the food is very authentic and stays true in both flavor and presentation.

Gohan Japanese Bistro
13842 Newport Avenue
Tustin, CA 92780
Tel: 714-204-0401

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