Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Location: Torihire

Rating: OK
Meal:  Dinner
Price: 1500 yen
Payment: Cash only
Dishes: Tsukune (minced chicken) x2, negi chicken x2, thigh meat yakitori x2
English Menu: No

"point and eat" menu
I wish I could be sure of the name of this place, but the best I could do when I asked was "Torihire".  "Tori" of course means "bird" or in this case "chicken," as in "yakitori" (roasted chicken).  I have no idea what the second kanji means as it's rather stylized on the signs.  It sounded like they said "hi-re" but I can't find any meaning for it.  Maybe it's a name.

Mini salad
Anyway, this place is tucked way around the back inside a warren of small alleys near my apartment building.  It's right next to the La Corte italian restaurant.  I've seen it before, but never stopped in.  These places always intrigue me as they usually don't make much effort to be foreigner welcoming.  But yakitori is pretty easy...just point to something and ask for 2.  Then point to 2 more things and ask for 2.  You'll eventually get 6 sticks of something edible.  If you feel like ordering a drink (which I did but didn't include in the price above) feel free.

I went for tsukune, which is usually 3 or so minced chicken balls.  These can turn out a number of different ways apparently as the last batch I had were slightly crunchy.  This one, however, was not in the form of balls at all, but more like a chicken kebab, formed along the whole stick.  It had excellent flavor I must say, and was accompanied by a raw egg yolk, which I broke and dipped the chicken sticks in.  Next I had momo (thigh meat) and negi (chicken and green onion).  Both were good, but not greatly spiced, so I added some from the available condiments.

Momo and negitori
The atmosphere is great, and though I was asked if I could speak a little Japanese before being allowed in, they were friendly enough and I didn't feel too intrusive.  If you don't know *any* Japanese yet you might want to stick with the standing yakitori spot.

Unfortunately, the friendliness of the staff and the goodness of the tsukene isn't enough to overcome my lack of enthusiasm for yakitori.  The 1500 yen price for 6 sticks seems a little steep too.  I was having a "second dinner" after an initial one that was more of a snack and wouldn't want to spend that much on the amount of meat I consumed next time.

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