- 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.