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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Japan 2013: Tokyo - Yakitori & Yakiniku

One of my friends put me in touch with her cousin before my trip. Her cousin lives in Tokyo and was a lot of help on suggesting places to eat. He even offered to meet up with us one night and take us somewhere off the beaten path. Awesome! 

I asked him where we could get some good yakitori (skewered food) since I didn't find one when I went to Japan last year. He took us to Sasaya in Meguro. It was about a 15 min walk from the station. We would've never found this place on our own! It's a small place, like most restaurants in Japan. The lighting was dim, good for after work drinking. hehe. I think this place specializes in chicken because all their skewers were parts of the chicken. We let the host do all the ordering, we're adventurous enough! :P 

But first, we started with some drinks! Can't go to a yakitori place and not get some sort of booze. :P I had some sort of yuzu cocktail. Very refreshing! 
We also got some pickled veggies and a daikon radish and egg mix to go with our skewers. It helps freshen things up since the skewers are more salty and greasy. 

I'll try to identify thing the best I can... 
Chicken Meatballs 
Chicken Hearts
Chicken Leg 

Chicken Liver 
Chicken Gizzard 
Chicken Skin 
Chicken Breast and Wasabi (it's only cooked on the outside and slightly raw on the inside!) Never had slightly raw chicken before but we were assured it's safe. Must be really quality chicken! 

Egg Yolk and Liver. This was interesting... the egg pops in your mouth. And the liver was soooo flavorful. I'm usually not a liver fan, but it was pretty tasty. 
Chicken Heart (fattier) Much more flavor than the first.
Thick Deep Fried Bean Curd 
Shiitake Mushroom 

We were so full! Each person had their own skewer of the list above. Very delicious. Thank you so much to Jerry for taking us out and June for making the connection! :D 

The last night in Japan, we wanted to get some yakiniku (bbq). Our first choice turned out to be way more expensive than we wanted to pay so we just got on the subway, exited Shibuya station and wandered around. We can across this small street with some restaurant signs. I noticed a sign for a yakitori place that said something about a set course for 3,500 Yen? So the bf said let's check it out! Every meal is an adventure. haha. 

We went up the elevator and came to this black door. We went in... the place was pretty empty but very cool. It had a disco ball! haha. The waitress who greeted us was very nice, but she spoke no English. But she seated us and another waiter came to greet us. He was SUPER welcoming and friendly. Introduced himself in English so we thought we found a place that spoke English! haha.. not so much. He didn't know much at all, but was definitely eager to help. After much gesturing and google translate on his iphone, he explained that they do have a set course for 3,500 Yen, but for TWO people. Not per person like we expected! Woot! That's a nice surprise! And then he asked if we ate organ meat, which we do, so he said "perfect!" 

Apparently the set is some beef, but mostly different cuts of organ meats. I have no idea which cuts but that also made it more exciting. haha. For all I know we could've had testicles and not known. Oh well. As long as it's cooked, I'll try it! :P 

The set comes with unlimited shredded cabbage and marinated scallions.
We also ordered a side of veggies. And a large bowl of rice to share. 

The cool thing about this place is the grill. It's above the table and they use charcoal. There's a giant suction thing above the grill so it sucks up all the smoke. We didn't smell like bbq at all when we left the place. We also didn't notice it was a smoking establishment until later because all the cigarette smoke was also sucked up. Awesome! 

We ended the meal by sharing a black sesame ice cream. 
It was a lot of fun. The waiters were all so accommodating and friendly despite the language barrier. Especially Lu! Our special helper. hehe. Great end to the trip! :) I still can't get over how nice Japanese people are!! 


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