Tag Archives: yakitori

Yakitori Totto

My wife and I stopped in here for a quick meal since we are both big fans of yakitori. We tried a bunch of shit.

First was the “soft bone,” which is essentially the cartilage found near the breast meat of the chicken. I thought there would be more of this, since it is generally abundant on the animal and a throw-away item in so many cultures. It was tasty though, I must admit.

Next was chicken skin. Since this is grilled, it doesn’t quite develop the crunchy texture you might expect from something that’s broiled, baked or roasted for a long period of time. It wasn’t rubbery or fatty though, so I liked it.

Next up, knee bone. This was probably my least favorite of the skewers, but I know my wife likes the weird crunchy bits, so I’m pretty sure she liked this.

These skewers are chicken oysters, tender lumps of meat found beneath the thigh of the chicken, near the ass. They’re so soft and juicy. One of the best skewers (we ordered two).

Our last skewer was the chicken thigh. These were my favorite. Nice and tender, as expected. Good fat content, lots of flavor.

We also tried both of their fried chicken apps. At $9 these were a little pricey (just four drumettes per order).

This is the regular order – just fried and lightly seasoned, served with lemon wedges.

And this is the flavored version, with a sweet sauce, a grilled shishito pepper and sesame seeds. We both liked this dish better.

Last, we had an order of ikuri: rice with roe. It also comes with a blob of fresh wasabi, shredded nori, shredded scallions, a nice seaweed broth and Korean/Japanese style pickles. Not bad for $13.

We really liked this place. The skewers range from like $3 to $10 (for special meats). Ours were all $3 or $3.50. It all came to $50-something bucks, which I thought was cheaper (and better) than other yakitori joints in the area.

251 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019

DIY Hibachi & Yakitori

I built this cool hibachi grill using some clay pots that I picked up at Home Depot.

As you can see, the first thing I cooked on it was some thick cut bacon. That’s lamb bacon, by the way. Really nice.

I lit the coal brick with a blowtorch.

This baby made my apartment really smokey because the fat drippings were hitting the hot coal. Otherwise, if there was no fat dripping, the hibachi was relatively smokeless. The cooking itself was more like a slow roast. I think, since I only used one brick, that made the process take longer. Next time I’ll try with two or three.

Yakitori by Neal

Yakitori By Neal is a Japanese style grilled chicken operation out of Brooklyn that pops up at various locations and events around the city, like Project Parlor and Sumo Stew (at The Brooklyn Kitchen).


I had the pleasure of tasting some of Neal’s delicious grillings at a private backyard yakitori and shochu party. Guests sampled four different bottles of shochu while nibbling on tasty yakitori skewers.





We had chicken gizzard, heart, and thigh, and shishito peppers, bacon wrapped tomatoes, bacon wrapped mushrooms, pork belly and hamachi (both belly and filet).








Everything from the grill was really delicious; the meats were masterfully seasoned and had a great, smoky charcoal flavor.

The shochu bottles varied in intensity and character. Two had the distinct flavor of mezcal, but with a more mellow, rounded and mild finish. These were great for drinking on the rocks or with soda.


The other two, which were aged three and five years, were remarkably smooth, clean and sip-able. One was so light in flavor that it was almost like water, yet it had 25% alcohol.


Various Pop-Up Locations
Brooklyn, NY

Yakiniku West

Japanese BBQ is some of the best shit around. Unlike Takashi in the west village, this joint offers all sorts of meats as well as fish. Takashi is just beef.


That’s pretty commendable of Takashi, but every once in a while I hunger for some pork. Yakiniku West delivered in what was essentially a “Bang Bang” meal, as we had just finished eating Thai food an hour or two earlier.

So we began our meat fest by kicking off our shoes, popping them into some cubbies and drinking some nice sake.



The starter plates came out. First was an agedashi tofu dish, and the next was a eggy pancake of sorts with seafood mixed in and topped with shredded bonito flakes. Both were good, but the pancake dish was top notch!



This first platter of meat came out that had a few different kinds of beef, including tongue, as well as pork belly and duck.




This shit cooked up nicely. Watch as it sizzles… “Tssssssss…”



We couldn’t stop there, not on a “Bang Bang,” so we grabbed a plate of chicken gizzards, mixed beef intestines (liver, tripe, stomach) and some extra tongue. Everything was delicious!




218 E. 9th St.
New York, NY 10003

Torishin West

For quite some time I’ve been fascinated by the idea of small, yakitori bar type joints in Japan. For those that don’t know what this concept is, it is essentially a long bar with open flame coals where the well drinks would be. All manner of chicken parts are grilled on skewers, charred over the coals before you and served up hot and fresh to your plate. I’ve never been to Japan, and therefore have never been to an authentic yakitori joint. Now, you may be thinking that NYC would surely have an authentic place like this, being a cultural melting pot and all. The problem is that NYC’s zoning laws don’t allow for open-flame charcoal style cooking indoors at restaurants. So any place that claims to be BBQ, or grilling style (like Korean BBQ, for example) is actually a cheap knock off version that is done with electric heater cooking coils and infrared grills. NOT real charcoal.


So anyway, with that caveat placed firmly up top, we can get down to the goods. Torishin is a NYC yakitori restaurant located in the 50s on the west side. We tried a shitload of chicken, with a bit of pork and veggies mixed in as well. Unfortunately there is no open-facing bar where you can watch the chefs cook this stuff in front of you, like you can in Japan, but the end products were all really nice. I enjoyed every course of this yakitori omakase.

First was a bowl of pickled cukes and daikon. Unimpressive, for me.


This next bowl is meant to ba a palate cleanser. Shredded daikon. I’m really not too much of a fan of daikon to begin with, so I barely dipped into this:


Next, more daikon. This time a thick “burger patty” of it, topped with shrimp, veggies, and a dreaded piece of eggplant (which is a disgusting, vile vegetable).


Now on to some good shit. Chicken hearts. These were very tasty, and probably one of my favorites of the evening. They tasted, to me, like mild beef skirt steak.


Chicken breast wrapped in shiso leaf:


Chicken thigh (mmmmmmm):


Mushroom caps:


Pork belly:


Crab and shrimp with black mushrooms and yuzu jelly:

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Asparagus. To me, this is a colossal waste of money. Essentially each skewer comes out to like $8 a pop. This plate was for four people. So we each got one asparagus shoot, which cost us $8 each. Rip off.


Chicken meatballs. Very tasty!


Chicken thigh meat wrapped in chicken skin. I liked this skewer a lot.


To finish off, we were given a choice of rice dish. This first one came in a broth, more like a soup:


This one was rice with ground chicken on top and a small cup of chicken broth on the side:


Dessert was either a shiso sorbet (left), sake jelly with kiwi and cherry (center), or strawberry sorbet (right). I went with the shiso sorbet and absolutely loved it. Very refreshing.


362 W. 53rd St.
New York, NY 10019


To celebrate some good news, we decided to grab some meat at Takashi, a place which so craftily served us some delicious beef ramen just a week or two prior. For the run down on that, scroll down to the bottom of this review, or check out The Great Noodle Chase post.


This time around we wanted grilled beef the whole way. No broth. No noodles. Just the protein. And that’s kinda what Takashi is all the fuck about! They ONLY serve beef. No pork. No fucking chicken. BEEF. And not only that, but it’s all top notch kobe quality, and they ain’t afraid to serve up the nasty bits – the offal. Fuck… This place even has testicles on the menu, and they have no shame in putting the words BEEF BALLS on the fucking menu! Needless to say, this fucking place is made for guys like me.


First came some small dishes of Kim chi, bean sprouts and cabbage with soy ginger dressing. Yeah, I ate it…


Next was the raw sea urchin on top of a nice slice of kobe chuck flap with wasabi, shiso leaf and seaweed paper. This dish is called niku-uni. It was really clean and delicious. I could easily eat a dozen of these shits, no problem.

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Then came the soft beef shank steamed buns with spicy mayo and scallions. These were tender and juicy, and fucking packed with bold flavor.


Then there was this awesomeness. Aged kobe prosciutto (whaaaaaat!?!!) with thinly sliced blue cheese and micro scallions, topped with a soy hazelnut honey mustard seed jam. It was earthy and robust. The characteristic aged flavors were highlighted with a nutty, funky-ass barnyard kick from the cheese. Yet it didn’t destroy the pallette. Props to the chef.




Then the grill heated up and the meats came out. Essentially the grill is just a heater coil element like what you have inside an electric oven. I think NYC has some shitty law that bans open flames in dining areas. So this is not technically the traditional open flame yakatori style you find in Japan, but it did fill the craving for grilled meat.

All of the meats were marinated in the house special Takashi sauce, and served with a small dish of sesame oil for dipping. They could have maybe brought out some lettuce leaves to wrap the meat, or a crunch element like fried crispy onion or shallot to sprinkle on top. The meat by itself was good, but I can see how maybe some people would want to mix up the textures a little bit.

Beef belly was the first plate of yum to come. Delicious. Not too chewy, not too fatty. It was cut about a quarter inch thick.




We ordered the chef’s selection of meats as well.


Here’s what came in that plate:

The front left is 1st stomach (cows have 4 stomachs, morons). It was chewy, and we were warned that this would be a lot of mouth work to get through. Why even serve it this way, I wonder? Better to braise it slow and low I would think.

On the front right we have beef heart. It cooked up like a very lean meat: good for a nice quick even sear.

The back right is 4th stomach. This was way more tender, thicker, juicier and flavorful than 1st stomach.

That’s liver on the back left. This was my least favorite. It was gamey, mealy, and very irony. I guess for my taste, liver is best served in pate form.

In the center are the sweetbreads. These glands were creamy and smooth. Very nice, with a great crisp.


The last meat we tried were the cheeks. This was the best of them all. It was sliced thin like bacon, and they crisped up nicely on the grill. Perfect.



Then we saw the table next to get the nose to tail beef platter.


Fucking bastards. We asked for it when we sat but they said we needed 4 people to order. Bullshit. We definitely could have finished it all, and I wouldn’t have minded paying 60pp for two instead of 30pp for four. Oh well. Maybe if there’s 4 of us next time…

Dessert was Madagascar vanilla soft serve ice cream, topped with soft chewy mochi balls, soy powder, sweet red beans, gold leaf and salted caramel sauce. Thankfully the sauce was served on the side. It was too bitter for our liking. The ice cream itself was great, and good with the sweet beans.


Pretty solid meal. It was a little pricey, but definitely enjoyable. I’d definitely go back to try out some more shit.


Real deal beef ramen DOES exist. I heard about some late night ramen joint in the west village called Takashi that serves up an all-beef broth ramen on Friday and Saturday nights only, from 12:00am to 2:00am. It was tough, but I ended up getting a seat for my wife and I to slurp up some of this delicious shit. We started with some beer and took in the surroundings:





As I mentioned, it’s a beef broth, but it contains crispy beef intestines, FUCKING BRAISED KOBE BEEF BELLY!!!, a soft boiled egg, and alkaline ramen noodles. The little blob of red you see in the middle is the spicy paste that my wife got with her bowl. I prefer no spicy paste, as it masks the beef flavor too much for my liking (though I DO love very spicy foods):



If you’re in town overnight on a weekend and are up for something bold and adventurous, give this bowl a try. The only problem is that you will need to try for a reservation on the Monday prior at 5pm. That’s when they start taking reservations. I emailed on Tuesday afternoon for my rez and they were already booked solid. They asked if I wanted to be on a waiting list in case someone cancels: I said yes. I found out on Friday at about 4:00pm that they had an opening for me and my wife at midnight. SWEET!


I finally got to try the nose-to-tail cow feast here, thanks to the good people at Tabelog. We started with some really amazing apps though:

Kobe beef tartare:
This was delicious. Clean, earthy, cool, and lots of texture. Our awesome waiter Reese mixed in the quail egg for us after patiently waiting as we snapped photos of all the apps.

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Soft boiled egg with beef prosciutto and caviar:
This was difficult to eat. The glass egg made it tough to allow for proper mixing of the components within, but the flavor was really nice. Egg was cooked perfectly.

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Raw beef liver sashimi:
Much better than you might expect. Raw liver tastes WAY better than cooked liver. There is no iron taste and no mealy texture. It’s soft, creamy, and clean.

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Crispy tripe salad:
Chewy, but for those who dig tripe, this is a win. Dip into some of the spicy sauce they serve it with, or the more traditional sesame oil + salt combo, and enjoy.

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We also had the kobe beef prosciutto with blue cheese and micro greens that we had last time, along with the uni dish that we had last time as well. They were too good to pass up, and I wanted to make sure the Tabelog folks tasted them (you can see pics of those above).

I should also mention that we had a really great waitress as well, named Yuki. As the restaurant got more and more busy, she had to multi-task a bit, and Reese sort of relieved her at our table. But at one point we caught a glimpse of her serving up this monster set of ribs to the table next to us. Looked amazing! My wife’s Instagram feed (@thecakedealer) has a nice pic of it on the grill.

Now on to the main course – 16 cuts of cow.
Top row (from right to left):
tongue, cheek, shoulder, rib eye, between the ribs, tail.
Middle row (from right to left):
sweet breads, heart, liver, first stomach, second stomach.
Bottom row (from right to left):
short rib, skirt, belly, fourth stomach, large intestine.

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If you’re an astute reader, you may be wondering what the fuck happened to third stomach. It’s only served as an app, so that will have to be a “next time” item. Anyway, Reese gave us a run down on each cut, instructing us on how long each piece should be cooked, and what to expect for each (soft, chewy, creamy, etc). Rather than labor on with the monotony of each and every cut’s flavor, texture, and rating, I’ll just give you a quick list of our favorites. Cheek, shoulder, rib eye, between the ribs, short rib, and belly. The rest were all good, but if I go back, I’ll probably focus more on the faves.

Here’s some additional meatporn for you:

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456 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014