Monday, May 16, 2016

Tori Gin

Location: Tori Gin

Rating: Excellent
Meal:  Dinner for 2
Price:  4930 yen
Payment:  Credit cards accepted
Dishes:Yakitori sampler (around 16 sticks including vegetables), chawanmushi, ikura and hotate kamameshi, large roasted onions, bacon wrapped asparagus
English Menu: Yes? Not sure, we didn't ask for one.

I've heard there is an English menu...
Tori Gin is located on the second floor of a complex of several restaurants not far from Yokosuka Chuo station.  I'm told at one time there was a statue of a large frog with lots of smaller frogs on top of it that led the foreigners here to call it the "12 frogs" restaurant.  Apparently, we've been living under a rock, because it took us this long to try the place.  They are most famous for their Ginza location ( which handily has an English menu webpage, though the prices and exact dishes may be inaccurate.  At least it helps with ordering.  The specialize in yakitori and kamameshi.  Kamameshi is a small rice hotpot that has toppings on it.

Yakitori variety platter plus asparagus
We decided to get a yakitori sampler to split, and while there were some delicious items in there, there were also some offal sticks (liver and gizzards) that some might find less than appetizing.  I thought the liver was amazing, but the gizzards I could have done without.  The chicken sticks themselves (a couple of varieties) were excellent and the size of the meat pieces was above average (still nothing on Bravo's huge chicken shishkebab!).  There were several sticks of vegetables which ranged from the pleasantly surprising (ginkgo nuts) to delicious (roasted green peppers) to disappointing (the roasted negi was surprisingly tough and fibrous).  We also ordered a seasonal special of bacon wrapped asparagus that was incredible.  Lastly on the roasted things on sticks front, we ordered two large, thick slices of round onion that had been roasted to perfection with salt or soy sauce.  They were so hot that we had to wait a minute for each bite or else the intensely hot insides would destroy our mouths when we bit into it.  These were truly the highlight of the meal!

Chawanmushi in an adorable little clay pot
The kamameshi we ended up ordering was the ikura (salted salmon eggs) and hotate (raw scallops) topped one.  It was really good, especially the ikura and hotate, but only enough for each of us to have one small bowl after we split it.  It seemed common for other patrons to order one per person.  But we were fine as we had plenty of other food.  My wife loves here a chawanmushi (egg custard pudding) so we also ordered one of those.  I could tell the ingredients were excellent, but it was a little bland for my taste and needed some soy sauce.

The Most Amazingly Delicious Thing on the Menu
There were so many other things on the menu that we were eager to try that we began planning our next trip before we were done eating!  Both my wife and I agree that this is an amazing find here in Yokosuka and definitely deserves and Excellent rating.  The one negative would have to be that smoking is permitted, and we had the one guy in the whole restaurant who decided to light up right next to us.  Ugh.  It also can get pretty busy, we had to wait about 15 minutes before being seated and service was a bit slow at first, but it got better.  It isn't super gaijin friendly, but I am told by a friend that it's still pretty popular with that crowd (none there but us last night).  I think the convenience of the table seating is probably a contributor to that.

Ikura and hotate kamameshi

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