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Alternates to Torishiki

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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:
      http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013...

      Tabelog:
      http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1316/A13160...

      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)
        http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1312/A13120...

        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 moorsyum@yahoo.com

            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: Lucil

                        What's hitotori?

                        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).

                3. Hi,
                  I'd like to recommend Fuku, which we thought was a great yakitori place, perhaps our favorite meal while in Japan.

                  It's rather difficult to find, but once you get there, it shouldn't disappoint.

                  Prices were reasonable, and we ordered very liberally. The bill was only 8000yen for two. highlights include the chicken meatballs, chicken and leeks, and bacon wrapped mochi. we tried the chicken sashimi as we had never had this dish before, but didn't like it.

                  One issue is that the restaurant is a bit difficult to find. we followed one of the chowhounders' instructions which were precise but we circled the same street a few times and had to ask several people. the sand colored facade is very nondescript but the trek is well worth it!

                  I've attached a couple photos for your consideration..

                  Chicken + leek
                  Chicken neck (with onion on top)
                  Bacon wrapped mochi

                   
                   
                   
                  1 Reply
                  1. re: arnage

                    +1 for Fuku. It is one of my favorite yakitori places in Tokyo.

                  2. We ate at Yoshicho in Gotanda. Loved it. One of the dishes was ground chicken over rice with a barely poached egg. It was a standout. Very friendly and accomodating as we were 30 minutes late in the usual lost tourist scenario.

                    1. Thanks to everyone for the input!

                      1. on tabelog for Torishiki, it says they only take reservations on the 1st day of the month at 2pm up to 2 months ahead. Why is it booked so fast until February??

                        1. is Hachibei (http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...) a good alternative to Torishiki?