There’s no easy American analog for okonomiyaki, the Japanese dish that at turns seems equal parts omelet and pancake. It’s a meal destined to be chased by a couple cold beers: a thick, savory batter of grated mountain yam, shredded cabbage, onion, eggs and a bit of flour that’s fortified with the fillings of your choice, griddled to a crisp and lacquered with sweet okonomi sauce. At Doya Doya in Torrance, you can take pleasure in the stomach-stretching comfort of more than a dozen different varieties.
The quintessential version here is probably the Doya Doya Mix. There are nubs of shrimp and squid mixed into the okonomiyaki as well as strips of fatty Kurobuta pork seared into its crunchy exterior. At the table are the usual accompaniments of aonori seaweed, mayonnaise and smoky bonito flakes that dance and squirm when showered onto the hot okonomiyaki. Unlike Gaja in Lomita where you can cook your own okonomiyaki, Doya Doya does all the hard work for you. Here, each okonomiyaki arrives sizzling on a cast-iron skillet, bringing with it the hunger-inducing hiss of the okonomi sauce caramelizing there before you.
Doya Doya also riffs on the noodle stir-fry yakisoba as well as omusoba, a tangle of yakisoba wrapped in a vivid yellow omelet that approaches the kind of perfection famously demanded by Daniel Boulud.