A plate of gyutan from Gyutan Tsukasa was just not enough!
Ramen at Kitakata Ban Nai? An easy choice…but I was craving something else. Killed a little time at Tokyo Central and marveled at their sake selection (including some that were over 2 years old from the bottling date…doh?)
A quick look at the yelp app, and found a place that I was quite satisfied with last time, and the listing shows that you can put your name down via the app, on their waiting list!
Arrived and found quite a few parties ahead. We had a 7:30 pm and got there about 20 mins early.
This was taken right outside the the entrance. It was packed as to be expected. Add to that the cold dry windy air outside, and one quickly starts thinking about juicy delicious smokey yakitori in eager anticipation.
Finally got seated, and after placing the orders, a bowl of raw cabbage salad arrived. I can’t recall the light saucing, but it was refreshing and delicious. Probably the healthiest thing in the restaurant, lol.
The side counter seats offered an unobstructed view of the action at the grill. The smoke was nicely controlled, unlike the previous time when the chef got smoke attacked up the face and that facial expression was priceless. Tonight’s chef seemed rather chill, like Richie Hawtin effortlessly spinning discs.
Next up: Takowasa…with actual grated wasabi provided (how original lol!). It was goooood.
A look at the special yakitori menu…note that there was not a chicken in sight (lol)
Wait, something was missing. Ahhh yes…sake! There was only one half decent choice that I wanted and I had before elsewhere. Takenotsuyu Junmai (Yamagata prefecture). Obviously a pre-opened bottle (super chilled) and poured into a flask. It worked as I didn’t need something super heavy duty. It still had some acidity, but lost quite a bit of complexity from being opened too long.
Now come the skewers! If I remember correctly: left was Marble Kobe (super good), and the right was a Kobe chuck flap with daikon oroshi and ponzu dip…good chew and tasty!
Next up, chicken rump (left set) and tail (right set). Enjoyed them quite a bit!
Next up: scallops bacon, shitake, beef tendon, asparagus bacon, special heart, and thigh.
Very pleasing way to the end the evening (actually there was a R&B Garden Grove stop for boba but nothing major there) and very decent value for under $80. Skewers all arrived hot, very juicy and nicely cooked. Good fun atmosphere and this is very comparable in quality to say, Gaku Yakitori in San Jose. Nice neighborhood vibe but I can see how some of that is lost as a result of being a chain with the ramen business (which is located next door).