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yakitori

thew Jun 20, 2009 12:39 PM

where do you like to go?

was at totto on 55th street last night and i enjoyed every bite i had. been to a few others over time - heard about tori shin, but see mixed reviews as i research it - ate at mr jones once, would go back, but more for the lounge atmosphere than the yakitori (but admittedly i did not try too much) - what do you think of it? i've walked through Village Yokocho many times, to get to angel's share, and i love how it smells, but have never eaten there (hangs head in shame).

so what do you think? where do you go? what do you order?

  1. Silverjay Jun 21, 2009 08:33 AM

    You can skip Village Yokocho. The yakitori is lousy, defrosted, sometimes poorly executed, and skimpy. Although, some of the other typical seasonal izakaya dishes have been alright there. Totto/ Tory's are solid corporate run places that execute well. Oddly enough, I like the mini lamp chops they serve the best. I don't think any of the skewered items stand out as gourmet or chowhound finds, but it's pretty good. These restaurants remind of the yakitori chain places in Tokyo, though more expensive than you would typically pay for this cuisine. On Tori Shin, I haven't been. But except for a few service complaints on Yelp, I haven't heard bad things about the place. I've heard food is very good there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Silverjay
      k
      kobetobiko Jun 21, 2009 09:33 AM

      I tend to order just organs like chicken hearts, liver, knee bones, butts, etc. at Totto and never big on the meat (not even the chicken meat). Their toridon is pretty awesome.

    2. thievery Jun 20, 2009 04:53 PM

      enjoy the taisho's on st marks (yakitori taisho and oh taisho). perhaps not the best food of the lot, but festive vibe (oh taisho moreso) with all the japanese college students and good music. i like the egg & eel over rice and the soft shell crab w/ chili sauce.

      1 Reply
      1. re: thievery
        thursdayclubjason Jun 21, 2009 12:36 AM

        I've eaten at Village Yokocho several times & have never been disappointed (although I cannot comment directly on the yakitori). I have yet to go to Taisho. Is that the place on the North side between 2&3rd that's always packed/line out the door?

        my foodie blog http://www.thursdayclubnyc.com

      2. E Eto Jun 20, 2009 01:27 PM

        The Totto chain does a great job with the yakitori. But Torishin is even better.

        2 Replies
        1. re: E Eto
          thew Jun 20, 2009 03:28 PM

          why? as i said i have read some horrific reviews of tori shin, as well as glowing ones.

          1. re: thew
            E Eto Jun 21, 2009 01:32 PM

            I'm not sure where you're seeing these horrific reviews, but I'd want to know who's writing the reviews and their level of experience with the cuisine. I guess I tend to distrust most amateur opinions on matters such as these. Even on these boards. But if you want some good detailed reviews, you'd have to go to some of the Japanese expat blogs.
            http://happynewyork.blog29.fc2.com/blog-entry-75.html
            http://blog.livedoor.jp/simon123/archives/51157402.html
            http://fujiko55.blog58.fc2.com/blog-e...

            To paraphrase, many say that among the yakitori places in NYC, only Tori Shin would compete with good yakitori shops in Tokyo.

            As for the east village spots like Taisho or Yokocho, they're fine as an introduction to the cuisine or for a fun place to drink and graze, but for connoisseurs, I wouldn't send them there.

            I'm a fan of Totto/Torys, but I just find the atmosphere a little too cold and corporate, with a little ability to interact with the yakitori cooks. If what you look for in a sushi bar experience is the ability to interact with the chef, and have an "omakase" type experience, then Torishin supplies that.

        2. k
          kobetobiko Jun 20, 2009 01:18 PM

          I believe Mr. Jones is closed (RIP)

          Nothing in East Village is better than Totto. In fact I found most of them well below average.

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