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Sep 12, 2013 11:25 AM

Alternates to Torishiki

I'm heading to Tokyo in November for my annual culinary pilgrimage and have already started booking through my hotel. Unfortunately, one of the yakitori restaurants my girlfriend had her heart set on, Torishiki, is fully booked...until February 2014!

She was particularly looking forward to a quail egg skewer with a runny yolk center (whenever we've had them elsewhere, the yolk has been hardboiled) and Torishiki's "unique cuts".

I know that the owner/chef previously worked at Toriyoshi in Naka-Meguro, but have been told it pales in comparison.

So, any ideas for similarly outstanding yakitori restaurants? I already tried Birdland and wasn't blown away.

On the other hand, if anyone has a connection at Torishiki and can get us in...

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  1. I read somewhere that there is split-off restaurant by one of the chefs of Torishiki, but still managed by them, nearby. I would look into that.

    1. The Torishiki spin-off that Silverjay referenced is called Gallus. Robbie Swinnerton wrote a review for the Japan Times a few months ago.

      Japan Times article:


      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. hey , im also heading to tokyo in may, let me know on torishiki situation, asked my friend(non foodie) to help me book, in the end he didnt call at correct timing and i missed out on this..argh..

          i made alternative reservation at toriki (1star)

          any comparison to torishiki??? from pictures toriki looks like less saucy style... which kinda worries me a little

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lucil

            toriki is a lot less "saucy'.

            i liked toriyoshi (this was 4-5 years ago though). they had the "lantern" when i ate there. if your japanese is up to it, you can try to reserve the item - they might run out of it.

            never had the chance to eat at torishiki, so don't know how it compares. although i've found that a lot of times, descriptions like "pales in comparison" are really just hyperbole.

          2. Thanks for the responses. I'll run them by my "social planner" and see what she thinks. We've got Sawada booked, lunch on our first day and dinner on our last, and are looking to return to a few more old favorites (Butagumi, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Esquisse, Effervescence, and Aronia de Takazawa) in addition to some new -to us - places: Unagi Kabuto and Kurogi.

            Any of you chowhounders interested in possibly meeting up for a lunch or dinner in November? Lucil, when will you be in town?

            14 Replies
            1. re: BaronDestructo

              above post error ( may->nov)
              will be in tokyo around mid nov, around 10th to 17th... tentatively , still need to sort things out before things are final

              kurogi you booked? i passed on this one for kyo aji , hehe...

              1. re: Lucil

                My girlfriend and I will be there from Nov 6th to the 17th. Let me know if you'd be up for Butagumi or something along those lines.

                1. re: BaronDestructo

                  i was thinking on that too, lunch for butagumi would be great, how do i contact you?

                  1. re: Lucil

                    You can just email me at

              2. re: BaronDestructo

                The guy at Kabuto is really bonkers, but a true Tokyo character. If you want wild caught unagi, you need to reserve in advance. Even then, they might not let you order it. They told me it is only for regulars but I "negotiated" my way into it.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  What were the differences you noted between the wild caught unagi and the regular unagi?

                  1. re: BaronDestructo

                    Taste and price. Cleaner and expensive.

                  2. re: Silverjay

                    is kabuto omakase or do we order off the menu???? looks like there is a need to order off the menu? any recommended items?

                    1. re: Lucil

                      Order off the menu on the back wall. Get some skewers, a vegetable dish or two or tofu for starters and order the kaba or shira-yaki or both. They will also do either as una-ju.....You can try to order the wild unagi on the spot but might be better to try and reserve ahead of time....I like their sake and they also had a good beer...Don't wear anything there you don't want to smell like grilled eel for the next week. Cash only.

                      1. re: Silverjay

                        thanks ! i heard the hitotori is also a favourite!

                          1. re: Silverjay

                            I believe that's the Wild Chickens farm team's mascot name.

                            1. re: Silverjay

                              i saw this 串焼き一通り
                              so i am assuming the furigana is hitotori, because i think i saw it on someone else blog mentioning this..

                              1. re: Lucil

                                Not a dish just a selection of skewers (串焼き).