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Confused about Japanese grilling places... not Benihana

tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 02:44 AM

I'm a fan of sushi, but really love the Japanese eateries that offer little grilled skewered items. Things like:

- chicken skin
- livers on a skewer
- mushrooms
- asparagus wrapped with bacon
- etc

These places first seem like sushi bars, but instead have the main chef tending to a long BBQ where he/she tends to the little sticks of fun.

I'm not sure what to call these places. Yakitori seems to mean "chicken." It's not teppanyaki. Two places I loved where eateries I was taken to so I don't know the adress. One was on Santa Monica near Bundy. The other was in the 3-story little plaza building next to little Tokyo. I'll work on the names, but in the meantime can you tell me the style?


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  1. c
    calabasas_trafalgar RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 03:35 AM

    Shinsengumi in Gardena has all these items...

    1. Quik RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 03:42 AM

      Yakitori, it refers to both the chicken and grilling various meats and vegetables on skewers.

      1. c
        cls RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 03:42 AM

        Here's the etymology, perhaps you can figure it out:
        yaki - grilled
        teppan - iron plate
        kushi - skewer
        niku - meat
        tori - bird

        so we have yakiniku, yakitori, teppanyaki...

        1 Reply
        1. re: cls
          tastyjon RE: cls Oct 15, 2006 08:15 AM

          Is kushiyaki a style?

        2. applehome RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 04:17 AM

          Yakitori does mean chicken, but it's also the name for this kind of charcoal grilling using skewers (kushi) and even the restaurant in general. The generic name for the charcoal grill is hibachi - this has gotten confused in the US, as a chain of copycat teppanyaki (flat metal griddle) places (copying Rocky Aoki's invention of Benihana in NYC) called themselves Hibachi. Hibachi is traditionally the central coal/woodburning stove used mainly for heating the house - under the main table and chimney, and also used for cooking.

          Breaded and fried items on a skewer is called kushi-age (age means to fry).

          Japanese is full of a word being used for both something specific and more general - you have to figure it out by context. E.g., sake means the brewed rice drink, but it also means all alcoholic drinks. References to drinking sake could mean a shot of whiskey as well as the rice brew.

          1. c
            Chubbypanda RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 04:25 AM

            Robata-yaki or "hearth grilled".


            - Chubbypanda


            1. Bon Vivant RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 05:29 AM

              I've always refered to the skewers as "kushiyaki."

              1. ozzygee RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 06:31 AM

                Anyone know of a restaurant in LA that encompasses all the varieties of Japanese skewer cooking from, yakitori to kushiage? Or at least one that has a few varieties?

                2 Replies
                1. re: ozzygee
                  rameniac RE: ozzygee Oct 15, 2006 09:39 AM

                  shin sen gumi in gardena has all the chicken, plus a few other meat and bacon-wrapped varieties. more varied than exclusively chicken-based joints like kokkekokko.

                  1. re: rameniac
                    ozzygee RE: rameniac Oct 16, 2006 03:28 AM

                    Do you know if they have grilled unagi?

                2. r
                  rameniac RE: tastyjon Oct 15, 2006 09:43 AM

                  the OP is probably thinking of nanbankan on santa monica and kojiki in little tokyo's weller court.

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