Friday, April 30, 2010

Yakitori Totto - A Step Above The Rest! (New York City)

Yakitori Totto

Yakitori Totto

After exploring the City of Brotherly Love, my buddy Dan and I braved the rain and wind on a blistering late New York night for some wholesome goodness. The wholesome goodness in this case would be grilled meats (yakitori) and beer, and lots of it!

Yakitori TottoYakitori Totto

Yakitori Totto

House Warm Sake

Hot House Sake

Before ordering, we both decided to start off with some hot sake to warm ourselves up. Living in Los Angeles really made me weak in regards to rain and the cold. It was a real nice pick me up!

Yakitori TottoYakitori TottoYakitori TottoYakitori Totto

Shots from the Bar

After we ordering, I just had to take a few shots of the grill master at work. Luckily we had a seat right in the middle of the bar. Don't worry, future patrons of Yakitori Totto, as shown on the picture above, the grill is separated by a glass, so the smoke does not seep into the dining room. Genius!



After plowing through our sake, we started on the beer. What's better than the best Japanese beer out there? A refreshing cold glass of Yebisu! Refreshing, flavorful, and 100% delicious!

Shirauo Kara Age

Shirauo (白魚) Kara Age (Deep Fried Mini Sardines with green tea powder and sea salt)

The first dish went wonderfully well with our beer. Fried shirauo (白魚), which are also known as Japanese whitebait. Fried perfectly and the green tea powder w/sea salt added a nice flavor to the fried fish. I'm definitely ordering this again!

Tako Wasa

Tako Wasa (Octopus Marinated in Wasabi)

Another winner! Fresh octopus (raw) marinated in freshly grated wasabi. The flavors of the wasabi was strong, but not too overpowering. In fact, it was quite a refreshing course.

Tori DangoTori Dango

Tori Dango (Steamed Rice Dumplings with Chicken Meatball)

Another pre-yakitori winner. This dish reminded me of dish you'd find at dim sum, but done in a more elegant manner. The chicken balls were cooked well, and maintained its juiciness. The sticky rice added a different, yet wonderful element to the dish.

And now, onto the yakitori......

Chicken Heart (Special)

Chicken Heart (Special)

One thing I'll do different on my return trip to Yakitori Totto is to eat at an earlier time. Since I was there after 10PM, most of the special menu were sold out, except for the chicken heart. Unlike some of the other renditions of chicken hearts I've had here in Los Angeles, this version was MUCH better. I don't know if it's texture or the flavor, but something about it made me really happy!

Chicken Gizzard

Chicken Gizzard

Who doesn't love chicken gizzard? Well, actually, ya, I can think of enough people that doesn't. However, you haven't had a good gizzard until you try the version here at Totto. Crunchy, yet slightly juicy. I loved the flavors of the spices used on the gizzard. Definitely one of the biggest winners of the night! Appreciate the gizzard, it's great!


Negima (Chicken Thigh and Scallions)

One of the staples of yakitori, chicken thigh and scallions. Wonderfully done, nothing to complain about this version here. Nice!

Chicken Skin (Kawa)

Kawa (Chicken Skin)

OMFG! Ya, that is chicken skin. It's not pork belly, it's not some bacon wrapped enoki mushroom skewer, this is the truth! Unlike the flabby flat piece of skin served in many LA Yakitori places, here we have 6 rolled up, crispy chicken skin on each skewer. Simply, Mother-Effing good! Yes, it's good. Quote me on it!

Tomato Bacon

Tomato Bacon

Juicy tomatoes, crispy bacon. Match made in heaven? I'm not sure if I'd go that far, so it's pretty damn good! 'Nuff said!

Shishitou Tsukune

Shishitou Tsukune (Chicken Meatball stuffed into Japanese green pepper)

More juicy chicken meatballs? Yes please!! And I'm not even a fan of chicken! Stuffed in Japanese green peppers? It's Bam Wham Thank You Ma'am good!!

Kuro Buta Negi Pon

Kuro Buta Negi Pon (Organic Pork with scallions and ponzu)

Here we have some delicious, fatty pork grilled to a juicy perfection topped off with some tart scallions. Great contrast to use the ponzu to counter the fatty pork. Delicious!

Tsukune (Meatball)

Tsukune with Shiso

To finish my love of the chicken meatball served at Yakitori Totto, we went with the meatball skewer flavored with shiso. Shiso is one my personal favorites, along with the Taiwanese basil, so going with shiso was a no brainer. Other flavors such as salt, tare, and plum are also available.

Chicken Liver (Reba)

Reba (Chicken Liver)

Liver, you might be thinking, why didn't this guy put liver in the beginning of the post, as it's such a common yakitori dish. So ordinary, we didn't even considering ordering it until the end. What I had was probably THE best liver I've had to date, in any preparation. Served nary of sauce, only flavored by Okinawa sea salt, it was moist, succulent, and EFFING fantastic! OK, so yakitori sauce is available (by request), but you'll be doing yourselves a disservice by going in that direction. Order the liver, eat the liver, got it? :)

Yakitori Totto

Yakitori Totto

All in all, a fantastic experience. Can I say it's was the best Yakitori I've ever had? Without a doubt yes! Although I'm a Torihei fan in Torrance, sadly, Totto has Torihei beat hands down. I did not have one bad dish during the meal, and that's with 5 of the 6 special skewers being sold out. I can't wait for my return trip to Yakitori Totto, but you believe it I'll be the Asian dude with a camera waiting in line at 5PM waiting for it to open so I can try to run some sort of gamut! Maybe, not quite a gamut, but I'll order away!

Yakitori Totto
251 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 245-4555
Official Website

Yakitori Totto in New York on Fooddigger


djjewelz said...

Damn. you said you'd have it done before we left...and you did. This will make the perfect guide for our Totto visit on Sunday. Thanks!

Dan said...

Mmmmmm chicken liver, it really was the best cooked liver I've had, I love totto :)

burumun said...

Definitely the best yakitori I've had it too.
But next time Danny: seseri and bonchiri!

Lady Ducayne said...

So, what you're saying is...the chicken skin is good? ;-)~

kevinEats said...

I'm one of those that doesn't love the gizzard. :p Give me ass any day. Did they have the "rare" chicken?

It would be interesting to see how this place stacks up against Kokekokko at the VIP level.

weezermonkey said...

Love the first smoky picture.

Anna A. said...

Those are some serious organs on a stick.

Aaron said...

Nice guide for my dinner in an hour with Christine. As you said, it's too bad so many of the chicken dishes were sold out. Hopefully 7 is still early enough.

Kung Food Panda said...

Julian: I try to keep my word. Hope you'll enjoy Totto!

Dan: Can't wait to go back!

LD: It's bombtastic!

Kevin: I forgot if they had ass, but they definitely had a "rare" chicken dish, though it was on the "Chicken Limited" menu that were sold out by the time arrived. Try the gizzard, you might like this version!

If you ever get VIP connection at Kokekokko again, I'd love to join you!

WM: I think those smokey shots were a must for this post!

Anna: Word! :)

Aaron: I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did, though I hope I didn't overhype Totto....