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Aug 21, 2007 06:50 AM

Yakitori in Boston

Hi all,

I am looking for yakitori that runs a little more exotic then the usual shrimp/chicken/beef combo. I saw a show on the Travel channel where they ate chicken skin and keel bone yakitori. That is sort of what i am looking for. Any place fit the bill?

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  1. I know exactly what your talking about and have had them all when in Japan at Yakitori bars but i know of noplace in MA that has anything like that. In Japan it is very cheap bar food, perhaps on par with chicken wings around here or something. They have bars with grills about 6" wide running the full length where they cook all the skewers. You can get combos with 10-12 types made from every part of the chicken you can imagine. Cartilige, heart, skin, dark meat, white meat, intestines,liver, wings,and all of the above with or without scallions or other veggies added.. Around here places like to try to make Yakitori something gourmet which it isnt. Ginseng in Framingham is one of those places that offers a few standard skewers garnished up and overpriced.

    I can assure you though the keel bone yakitori is exactly as you might think. Next time your having a roast chicken just rip it off and put it in your mouth (then most likely spit it out)...

    1. I'm afraid I've yet to see a serious yakitori-ya or even a stall in the area. The basic yakitori is served at a number of places here, but I'd be very surprised to find even stuff like tsukune/chicken meatballs (my favourite).

      6 Replies
      1. re: limster

        if there is no Yakitori then how about a place to buy a Yakitori grill? i have been to a few shops in Chinatown to no avail. i'm talking about the wooden, metal lined boxes with a heavy screen used as a cooking surface.

        1. re: ScubaSteve

          I concur with all the other responders here. After having lived in and traveled to Japan for over 25 years I can regrettably confirm that there are no real Japanese yakitori bars in the Boston area. All the Japanese restaurants here serve a very simple version of chicken served on a skewers after being dipped in teriyaki sauce. They pass this off as yakitori This is not even close to what you would find in a yakitori-ya in Japan. I have always felt there would be a good market in the Boston area for an authentic yakitori place.

          1. re: RoyRon

            I vaguely remember Bluefin having a shio/salt yakitori as an option as well. Any updates from the hounds out there?

            1. re: limster

              I can only remember a chicken and a chicken giblet yakitori at Blue Fin, but I might be missing something from the set menus.

            2. re: RoyRon

              I think you're right, RoyRon, this place is itching for a yakitori-ya. I spent 6 months in Japan and going out for yakitori was one of my favorite things. There's something sublime about a shio kimo (chicken liver) skewer with a cold beer, despite its simplicity.

              And if there's one thing I now know in Japanese, it's the counter for long things and bottles...

              1. re: erwocky

                Good for you erwocky. Masterting the Japanese counters is a true challenge but the one for long things and bottles has to be one of the most useful!! I crave those yakitori-yas that are next to the major train stations like Shimbashi and Shinjuku. I have been told that the sauce they make at these places is constantly being improved each time they dip the cooked sticks of various chicken pieces in it. I believe it because I have never tasted such rich and delicious yakitori anywhere else. I was in Singapore a couple of weeks ago and went to a yakitori "fast food" place that was really very good. They had a sort of robotic system that took the sticks and passed them through a vertical grill and then dipped them several times before they back through the grill again for a final step. It sounds kind of strange but the yakitori were excellent although they certainly dofrferent have the variety of chicken parts they do in Japan.

        2. Sumi on Brighton Ave has basic yakitori, it's gotten mixed reviews here. Maybe they'd do more adventurous stuff?

          5 Replies
          1. re: steinpilz

            Sumi on Brighton Ave had been closed for a good six months and is soon to be replaced by Mount Everest Kitchen - presumably Nepali cuisine.

            1. re: Allstonian

              Or Tibetan? Doesn't Everest straddle the border?

              1. re: Allstonian

                tangentially, not that I thought Sumi was anything great, but it _did_ at least try to
                provide a variety of izakaya food; I don't know if it wasn't good enough, the wrong
                location, or simply Boston isn't able to support something as specific/niche as
                that. It could be any of the 3, I guess.

                When I first tried Ken's Ramen I feared it wouldn't survive, but it seems to be doing
                ok. Years ago there was a suprisingly authentic little place in the Arsenal Mall that
                served okonomiyaki, but it was probably a mix of bad location (the Arsenal Mall??)
                and just not enough demand for it, even though it WAS really good!

                The Japanese population is too small or transitory (students) to be keep shops
                open that don't meet the Boston residents' tastes..and sometimes, even if a place
                is authentic, it just doesn't strike locals as tasty enough.

                Well..what I wish we had was a great tonkatsu place in town..I figure pork, deep
                fried, the taste for that is nearly universal!! (well..not really..Jews and Moslems..)

                Sorry for the rambling..

                1. re: amatto

                  I think a big contributor to Sumi's demise was the lack of a liquor license. Without beer, it was merely a storefront serving skewered food, not an izakaya.

                  1. re: amatto

                    I was looking for tonkatsu w/curry at Wagamama today but they only had chicken, I when to Casablanca instead but will return to Wagamama.