Life in the big city, and everything in between.

Yakitori…? Totto-lly!

In Food on May 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Yakitori, or grilled fowl, is commonly a type of skewered chicken. In Japan it is an incredibly popular street food. But at Yakitori Totto they take chicken to the next level.

You may have passed this second floor restaurant a time or two and not even realized it. Even the hike up the very steep flight of stairs will get you hungry. The space is pretty small so usually there is a wait. But if you come in a pair you may get a seat at the bar right away, which is preferrable for me because I love to watch the grill masters at work. Although there is only room for one grill, you’ll still get every skewer piping hot.

This is a place where you need to let your inner adventurous side come out. Instead of getting your usual chicken breast, which by the way is amazing, try something not common, like chicken livers or the chicken heart. A few of my favorite skewers are the chicken oysters, chicken soft knee bone, and the chicken skin. All of them are grilled to perfection and incredibly tasty! Especially the chicken skin which tastes just like fried chicken. And the chicken oyster, which is a rare part of the thigh, is moist and juicy. The only bad thing is a lot of their specialty skewers can sell out if you get there too late.

Duck and scallion skewer at Yakitoti Totto

"Momo" or chicken thigh

This chicken meatball was so juicy and flavorful.

If you think you have ordered to much, you’re wrong. At $2- $4 dollars a skewer you can try just about all of them. The scallops, prawns, lamb chops, beef tongue, and all of the pork skewers are amazing. And if you want to incorporate some veggies, the eggplant with miso paste and shitake mushrooms are excellent.

Sweet, plump scallop skewer

Enoki mushroom wrapped in a slice of bacon

Juicy beef tongue skewers

Chicken meatball stuffed into Japanese green pepper

There’s more to order in addition to yakitori, like the avocado and tuna salad with tobiko. It was such a great balance of flavors. The avocado was soft and buttery and the tuna was raw, but fresh. I especially love the little fish eggs that pop in your mouth.

Avocado and tuna salad with tobiko

The Kyona salad is unusual but delicious. I love the crispiness of the deep fried little fish with the poached egg dressed on top.

Kyona & jyako salad: Deep-fried small fish salad with mildly half-raw egg & cream cheese

Another reason why I love this place is because it is full of Japanese people, so you know it’s good. The staff, who are mainly Japanese, are also very friendly. And don’t worry about your Japanese pronunciation skills because they won’t look at you like your a dumb American.

This is the best place for yakitori in NYC in my opinion. I would recommend sitting at the bar for the full experience and to savor the sights and smells of the yakitori grilled in front of your eyes. And after a few glasses of Ume Shu later, that stairway down to the street level can be quite an adventure.

251 W 55th St
2nd Fl
(between Broadway & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
Neighborhood: Midtown West

(212) 245-4555

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