Fave bites from 1st visit to Yakitoriya
Chicken breast skewer — requested medium so it was juicy, a smidge pink inside.
Liver skewer — this was also requested medium so the texture was luscious.
“Soft bone” (deep fried cartilage, aka “nankotsu”). Breading was light in taste and texture.
Heart skewer — part of the 9 skewer set. I opted for the 5 pc set so I didn’t get this, but my guest got it. So jealous.
The Yelp reviews for this place were a bit scary, but @CiaoBob ‘s positive posts and a longtime Japanese community member’s comment to me about the supposed horrific Spartan-like abuse suffered by the owner/chef during the Kokekokko apprenticeship years made me rethink my hesitation in visiting Yakitoriya.
I had been to the infamous Kokekokko 4 times before its eventual closure in Little Tokyo so Yakitoriya’s similar format of 5+ skewers requirement and $20 minimum order didn’t bother me. First impressions count so I brought plenty of cash to settle the bill and altho we didn’t order alcohol, we ordered 7up and didn’t ask for tap water (dinner for 2 ppl — $106 after tax and suggested 20% tip).
Was a bit disappointed we didn’t get traditional oshibori hand towels during the meal and the owner’s wife/server was as welcoming as the iceberg that sank the Titanic, but I’d still consider going back because I found the owner/chef to be polite, personable during food service to our table and the food was delish (not too salty and the liver skewers in particular were expertly grilled).
I can understand why Yakitoriya is referred to as “hostile” by some, but compared to the hoops I had to go thru just to get soft bone/nankotsu and heart skewers at Kokekokko as a non-regular (a black plate regular advised me to buy a glass of beer for the Kokekokko chef and also ask his Hispanic grill sous chef “nicely” for grilled chicken heart), Yakitoriya requires less painful back-bending.
Overheard the chef/owner’s wife say her husband learned how to make ravioli, etc. when he worked at the Melrose location of Patina…intriguing, but it’ll be a while before I go back due to price point. To be continued…