Yakitori is everyday drinking food. That it can be elevated to something quite sophisticated is shown by a number of yakitori shops that take their craft extremely seriously. Toriki in Tokyo is one of these.
Located in a residential part of Tokyo, around 45min from Ginza, Toriki is a classic yakitori restaurant. Sitting around the bar, where the skewers are grilled, and small cold dishes prepared, the action is right in front of you. Despite the cleanliness, and beautiful décor, the atmosphere here is lively and relaxed. Mostly frequented by regulars, this is a perfect place to experience what a solid upscale yakitori joint is like.
Food-wise, there is not much to complain about here. The various parts of chicken are cooked perfectly, full of flavour, and judiciously seasoned. Tasting your way through the various cuts of the bird is a fascinating experience every time you do it. No matter whether you eat the liver, heart, neck or skin, there is a lot to taste here.
To finish off, rice topped with grilled chicken breast is perfect. The meat is juicy, packed with flavour, subtly marked by the grilling, and contrasts nicely with the rice. Slightly burned green peppers add a vegetal note that gives just a hint of bitterness to it. This is comfort food done the Japanese way.
Toriki’s food and warm atmosphere make it easy to see why yakitori is so popular in Japan. If you want to see how much can be done with even the lowliest parts of chicken, this is not a bad place to start!