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Best Yakitori in Boston?

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I went to Japan a few years back and other than the 6 AM sushi at Tsukiji and some really great bowls of ramen, the several yakitori meals I had were the most memorable. Ever since, I've been on the lookout for good, authentic, char-grilled yakitori. The kind of place that serves not just white or dark meat chicken, but also skewers of livers, gizzards, and hearts or just plain old chicken skin. My go-to place has been Toki, the shabu shabu place in Allston; pretty affordable (about $2 per skewer and a wide variety), and decent quality, and yet just not quite as savory as the real deal from Japan I remember, nor some places in NYC (most notably Tori Shin, which is excellent but way too pricey, plus it's in NYC). Does anyone know of any really good yakitori joints in Boston?

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  1. I hope that someone else can chime in because as far as I know there were no yakitori places in the Boston area. I'm happy to hear the place in Allston has it.

    1. The simple answer is, Forget it! There is nothing that even comes close to a Tokyo yakitori bar in the Boston area. I've always wondered why because the ingredients shouldn't be a problem and I think there would certainly be a large potential customer base that would love a place like that. After living in Japan for 7 yeras and travelling there for over 20 it is one of the things I miss most. That and fantastic ramen.

      1. There was a yakitori palce in Allston a little farther out Brighton Ave past Harvard but it didn't have a license to serve beer or other liquor and went out of business a year or two/three ago. It was owned by one of the Thai restaurants I believe, someone on the board once mentioned this.

        5 Replies
        1. re: steinpilz

          It was owned by Kiyoshi-san and not affiliated with any Thai restaurants that I know of.

          1. re: robertlf

            No, I believe steinpilz is referring to Sumi, which was on Brighton Avenue, as described, and was apparently affiliated in some way with Khao Sarn.

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            Khao Sarn
            250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

            1. re: robertlf

              Yoshi Hakamoto owned Sumi, and was a partner in Khao Sarn at the time. That relationship is no more, and he is in the process of opening Umami near Washington Square in Brookline, which is described as pan-Asian but I think will probably be more Japanese-focused, possibly with some yakitori. He has some kind of liquor license there, not sure if it's full or beer/wine.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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              Khao Sarn
              250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Yoshi's not affiliated with Khao Sarn anymore? I haven't been in ages but I'm surprised to hear this. I'm sure Umami will be a success if he's behind the bar.

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                Khao Sarn
                250 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

              2. re: robertlf

                Do You know Kiyoshi-san? I have lost contact with him for long time his phone # don't work any more.

            2. Toki is pretty decent but I don't know if they still serve it. Sushi House Kiyoshi on Harvard Ave in Allston closed years ago and they had char-grilled yakitori -- but not as good as Toki's. The best I've had in the states was a Yakitoriya in Los Angeles. It was pretty on par with what you could find in Tokyo. I believe I went to Tori-shin in NYC a couple years back. That was good but not as good as Yakitoriya. Other than Toki (if they still serve it), you are out of luck.

              1 Reply
              1. re: robertlf

                Toki just renovated their entire menu and no longer serves yakitori. You can try Basho Japanese Brasserie and Oishii (at least the one in South End). They serve some robata/yakitori, but the selection is relatively limited. They're okay, but not as good as the places I've been to in New York and I'm sure will fail to compare to the yakitori in Tokyo.

              2. According to a recent review in the Phoenix, Basho has a good selection of robata-yaki.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Allstonian

                  I went to Basho this past weekend during lunchtime for their Robata grill items, but apparently they don't turn on the Robata grill until 5 PM for dinner service, so I can't really comment on if it's good or not. Either way, I think the take-home message of this whole thread is that other than maybe the South End Oishii, there actually is no real yakitori in Boston at all. How sad.