Yakitori Totto -- recommendations please
Hi everyone, I'm headed to Yakitori Totto and would love some recommendations. I have both the NY Times and Nosher's review. Also, we plan on just walking in either tonight or tomorrow. Anyone think it'll be a very long wait? Thanks!
Depends on what time you walk in. Early enough, it should be okay. But after 7:00 or so you can expect a wait anwhere from 20 minutes to about an hout. It's a very small space. But so worth it.
One of my favorites is the chicken heart. It's surprising because I usually hate chicken hearts (I don't use the word "hate" unless I really hate it). But at Totto, I think they must tenderize it or something because the texture is quite soft and silky. It's my favorite dish there. The kobe beef tongue is also on my list. The texture is unreal. Try the grilled shishito pepper as well. I've always wanted to try the knee bone, but they're always out of it.
chewy/crunchy, part fat, part meat, part cartilage. The breast bone cartilage is drier, more crunchy, less chewy. The flavors are really good and provide more textural contrasts with the other parts...creamy liver, chewy gizzard (really absorbs a smoky taste), juicy thigh meat, chewy, succulent, slightly gamey heart. Super delicious grilled fat in the skin or even better, the tail. Probably the least flavorful is the breast, which is why it is served with a great spicy Korean-style hot sauce or wrapped around asparagus. It was so good raw...I wish they would bring the sashimi back...
i've been here several times, here's some of my favorites:
tori dango - steamed rice dumplings w/ chicken meatballs inside....
gyoza - yes, their gyoza is just as on point as their chicken.
as for yakitori - negima, teba, tsukune (both salt and tare are good, dip in raw quail egg w/ a sprinkle of shichimi red pepper), kuruma ebi.
end the meal w/ either totto soup or sake chazuke.
if totto is too busy.. you can always go to TORYS which does take reservations. menus and quality are identical, although i still prefer Totto.
the chicken soup and the pork kubota skewers are also good...and the pannacotta like dessert with strawberry sauce is a good way to end your meal.
REVIEW! We finally got to Yakitori Totto. We went on Friday night (2 people, 8:30) and the wait was 30-45 minutes, so we decided to give a shot tonight (Monday). The wait for 2 people at 8:45 was only about 5-10 minutes. We got seated at the bar so we got to see all the action by the grill. It's great because you literally watch the meat come off the grill, get served up and then see it placed in front of you. Also, the waitress was very sweet and helpful. The meal was amazing and definitely lived up my expectations. Here's a rundown:
- Chicken meatballs (we got them all three ways) dipped in quail egg were UNREAL! So tender. I think my favorite was the mirin-and-soy glaze, but they were all so good that it's tough to pick a favorite.
- Beef sirloin (special) skewer that was amazingly tender; served with onion and pepper.
- Chicken heart (neither of us have ever had) was good; I'm definitely glad to have tried it although I dont know that I need to get it again.
- Liver was the only item we weren't crazy about. The smoky taste was nice, but I had a bit of trouble with the consistency.
- Fried tofu was delicious; even my husband, an avowed tofu-avoider, admitted it was good.
- Tori dango (steamed rice dumplings w/ chicken meatballs inside) were terrific. The chicken meatball is so good, and when combined with the piping hot rice on the outside, was really surprising and tasty.
- Chicken with egg, onion, rice and served with a side of some vegetable (I cant remember) was very good (again, the chicken carries the day)
- We each got a glass of shochu (Japanese vodka) and fresh orange, which they serve with a juicer and they put the fresh juice in. Neat presentation and it tasted pretty good. Only complaint is that there was too much ice in the glass, so the drink was very watered down by the end.
We ended spending $71 for two of us. It's not a cheap Monday night out, but definitely worth it. I can't wait to get back and try more items!