Tosa, Hammersmith, London
High quality grilling, a yakitori-ya that is worth going to. Skewers of juicy tender chicken thighs are scorched at the right edges and with the right amount, each morsel punctated by onions that came along for the grill. The tare (sauce) is thinnish, of oil and soy sauce and a faint sweetness of mirin or ama-sake, but nothing like the eloquent mellow renditions at Kikuchi. It doesn't matter, the meat speaks for itself.
Duck is intensely smoky, and very tender, a moist rind of skin/fat judiciously supporting the grilled meat, juxtaposed to sharp green onion.
Shiso maki was the reason I went to this place, having seen it on their menu months ago. Fatty pork wrapped around shiso leaves and grilled, the herbal flavours of the leaf adding a verdant complexity to the moist meat.
Tempura soba is respectable, a solid, smooth bonito broth, firm noodles with decent flavour, puffy crispy tempura prawns, a touch greasy, but the oil tasting extremely clean and fresh.
A passable chestnut ice cream, with scattered ice crystals and a reasonable but not immense flavour of roasted chestnuts.
Went here tonight with my girlfriend. We ate: asparamaki, gyoza, unagi nigiri, yakitori, torikawa, tebasaki, tonkatsu cutlet, grilled sea bass head (not sure of the Japanese name I'm afraid - suzuki yaki something).
The asparamaki was unreal. Truly wonderful, fatty bacon wrapped around little bits of asparagus. The gyoza were good, crispy skinned bottoms and nice tasting pork and chive filling, though at 5.50 for 5 you're expecting them to be. Not as good as the ones I had from E-Kagen in Brighton, where they seemingly specialise in the stuff, but very close.
The unagi nigiri was just an afterthought but what an afterthought. One of my favourites, I couldn't resist ordering it and though the flavour of the sauce was mild, the grilled fish flavour was spot on. Yakitori you know about. Torikawa were good, served with salt rather than tare. The tebasaki were really good, perhaps slightly better than the yakitori, but I'm a big fan of chicken wings so maybe I'm biased.
Tonkatsu cutlet was fine. Tasted like any other tonkatsu cutlet. Some bulldog sauce on top, of course. Oddly, was served with some English mustard on the side.
The sea bass head was very good. I love stuff like this, when you pick at some food to try and find the last remaining bits of white flesh. The cheek was particularly nice and salty.
With two beers and the service this came to 36 pounds. Really decent, and only a few minutes away from my flat, though I think I'd rather travel to Asakusa. More choice, though the yakitori items there obviously aren't as good.
If I were to go back I'd get the shiso maki and the maguro natto (which I was meant to order but completely forgot about). I took some photos if you're interested. Sorry about the length of this!
It was on my list of things to get from there but I forgot, unfortunately! I will give it a go next time.