REVIEW #97

Tori Shin

Japanese cuisine is gloriously fragmented.  In Japan, many restaurants will specialize in only one of the numerous distinct culinary categories:  sushi/sashimi, tempura, ramen, tonkatsu, soba.  Yakitori, literally “grilled chicken”, is one of these categories.  Chicken, along with other meats and vegetables, are threaded on a bamboo skewer and grilled over binchō-tan charcoal, which burns at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time than ordinary charcoal.  Once served primarily by street vendors and at izakayas, yakitori increasingly began to be prepared in more sophisticated, complex ways.  Tori Shin (“true chicken”) is the best yakitori restaurant in NYC, serving over 40 different unique chicken skewers along with items like pork belly, quail eggs, duck and vegetables. 

The variety of different cuts of organic chicken offered are dizzying:  thigh meat, crispy wing, crispy skin, rib, tail, breast meat, tenderloin, liver, gizzard, back soft bone, tender belly skin, kidney, fillet, whole heart, crispy neck skin, knee gristle, neck meat, root of wing and main artery.  We have attempted to provide an extensive roadmap to a self-directed omakase in our Recommended Dishes section at right.  Dining at Tori Shin’s three-sided Maplewood bar is a complete sensory experience:  grillers quickly flipping skewers and fanning the Kishu binchō-tan, aromatic smoke perfuming the interior of the intimate restaurant, dialogue with the chefs.  The Michelin Guide described Tori Shin as “the best yakitori-ya in the country”, and we think it is a lamentably underappreciated restaurant by the majority of NYC diners.

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INFORMATION

Upper East Side
1193 First Ave.
New York (nr. 65th St)
(212) 988-8408
Mon-Wed, noon-2:30pm, 6pm-11:30pm; Thurs-Sat, noon-2:30pm, 6pm-12:30am; Sun, 5:30pm-12:30am
    Shu Ikeda, Chef

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