Tag Archives: Yakitori

Yakitori Alley, Yurakucho, Tokyo

22 Nov

I was in Japan recently. I didn’t go in with a food plan or have much time to explore, but still had some great, mostly-cheap eats.

One highlight was near Yurakucho Station in Tokyo: “One of Yurakucho’s most interesting draws is the lively restaurant district built up under the brick arches beneath the elevated train tracks of the JR Yamanote Line. Known in Japanese as Gado-shita, from “below the girder”, these favored watering holes of Tokyo businessmen occupy virtually all of the free space under nearly 700 meters of track.”


Didn’t eat here:


But instead ended up at the most populated-with-locals, boisterous yakitori joint (I figure that’s always a good sign), in a brick-lined alley underneath the tracks themselves, with waves of fragrant meat smoke billowing out. I didn’t see a name, but from a stranger’s blog that shows the same menu it looks like it was Tonton.

Yurakucko Yakitori

We ordered round after round of chicken thigh, leeks, shishito peppers, tsukune (chicken meatballs), pork, pig hearts, chicken skin, even tongue, and all for only $25/person ($14/person not counting the beer).

Ippuku! (izakaya)

19 Oct

After visiting a long string of “fine, but not amazing” izakayas* in the Bay Area (Nombe, Nojo, Sebo, Oyaji), I’ve finally gone to one I love: Ippuku (in Berkeley):

Negima (chicken thighs + leek, one of my “baseline izakaya dishes”):

Shishito peppers:

Chicken with ume (sour plum) and shiso leaf. Perhaps my favorite dish of the night:

Gyu no tataki (very rare grilled beef), also a favorite:

Tori Yukke: minced raw chicken, egg yolk, and spices. Yes, that’s right, totally raw chicken… and the taste and texture were both great. I just tried not to think about it too much:

I also tried the yaki onigiri (good, but it is everywhere), the scallion pancake (less exciting) and the hiyashi tomato appetizer (fine). And to drink I had Heihachiro (a type of sweet potato shochu) mixed with hot water, which was earthy and satisfying.

I’ll definitely go here again.

*”izakayas” in the Bay Area tend to be fancier restaurants with “a collection of grilled skewers and other cooked japanese dishes”, not the more informal gastropub style of Japan. But that’s fine — this isn’t Japan, and I don’t need 100% authentic if it’s delicious.