For yakitori in NYC, I recommend East restaurant on 44th/3rd Ave. I've been to Yakitori Taisho in the East Village numerous times thinking it was the only yakitori action in town, but after my fourth visit to East last night, it wins hands down. Yes, yes. You're probably thinking that East is a local chain of mediocre Japanese restaurants in the city that features gimmicks like all-you-can-eat sushi (3rd Ave/Gramercy) or conveyor belt sushi (36th St), but the East on 44th is a straight-ahead Japanese restaurant that has an extensive menu and which specializes in yakitori. The sushi bar that was at the front of the restaurant has been converted into a yakitori bar and is well manned for efficient and consistent yakitori production.
East also has my favorite yakitori item that isn't on the menu at YT -- tongue. And better yet, it's not oversauced as I find at YT. In Japan, my favorite yakitori item was tongue shio-yaki (salted and grilled -- no sauce). They also have o-den on the menu there, which I've found in only a handful of places in NYC. Also, Tuesdays are ½-priced yakitori night until 10:30. People are already catching on, so get there early if you don't want to wait on Tuesday nights.
Eric, this is a bit off-topic (or more to the point, out-of-borough,) but I'm wondering if you have any yakitori recs in Queens worth writing about. I've been meaning to try this place in Flushing I spotted last year - I've linked below to my original posting. The stuff about the Japanese place is in the 2nd paragraph.
PS to the thread drift police -- I know, I know, if we expand on this discussion we should take it to the outer boroughs board. It's the right thing to do.
Helen, The problem is that whenever I go out to Flushing, my mind is normally on chinese or korean food. But I'm glad that you brought attention to Ozeki. It does sound promising. If you've tried these Manhattan yakitori places, perhaps you can write a little something for comparison next time you venture to Ozeki. Also, my chowhound radar for japanese is so fixed on midtown east since the quality of the cuisine here is so good. I'm still in the midst of canvassing the rest of the joints in this area. Someone's gotta do it.
By the way, last year sometime, I saw a menu at one of these midtown east Japanese places that had foie gras yakitori as a special. It was a bit extravagent for me then (probably still is), but I couldn't remember where I saw it. If it still exists, I must have it.
Eric, have you tried the Yakitori bar at Yokocho Village on Stuyvesant Place (E. 9th St.) in the EVill (Right off 3rd Ave 2nd Floor)? Not only does this plce have good Yakiniku, but it also has fun items like Broiled Yellowtail Collar, Steamed Whitefish and Egg, Salt-Grilled Clams and a host of other tasty items. Sake list is also a good one and as an added bonus the incredibly painstakingly anal bartenders and comfortable bar/lounge of Angel's Share are right through a door in the restaurant for either your pre- or post- prandial enjoyment.