Yakitori Tarokichi

A friend of mine had recommended me to a upscale yakitori place in Kyoto called Yakitori Tarokichi. In contrast to the dark and smoky izakayas of Yurakucho, this place was a bit fancier, with dedicated wait staff for drinks, and a queue of a mix of tourists and locals waiting patiently outside for their turn to get in. Clearly, this place came well-recommended on foreign guides. I waited for quite a while — around 20-40 minutes, but finally I got a seat, a foldable stool squeezed in right at the edge of the bar, closest to the door.

20180326_190658

Like most restaurants in Japan used to catering to tourists, they conveniently had a menu with the options spelled out in English, with English descriptions as well. The price of each stick was abut 180-220 yen, which is about twice the cost of the cheapest places. And like many izakayas, a drink purchase was required for the cover charge, however this isn’t a big issue since Japanese light beers go really well with yakitori sticks anyway.

20180326_192511

I ordered a veritable spread of my favourite yakitori, and waited for it to arrive. I was seated next to an Australian couple, whom I chatted with easily about the food we were about to eat and our respective travel plans.

The yakitori arrived, a couple of sticks at a time. The meat on each stick was cooked, marinated, and grilled in a way which perfectly expressed its flavours and textures, and everything was done right. The negima (chicken leg) with leek had a special marinade with the lightly charred leeks. Tsukune ume (meatball with pickled plum sauce), wrapped in a leaf, was really good. The onigiri (grilled rice ball) was easy to like with a crispy rice exterior and lightly salted inside. And the seseri negishio (chicken neck with chopped Japanese leek was just soft, juicy, and amazing. I also liked the shimeji mushroom, which was really juicy and succulent, but at 25 yen, it felt a bit expensive for just one mushroom. The sasami wasabi (chicken tender with wasabi) was nice, but not a must-try in my opinion.

20180326_192543
Torikawa,  negima with leek, tsukune ume, and onigiri.

One particular dish recommended by a friend from this place is the grilled crispy chicken skin with ponzu sauce. Instead of being served on a stick (that’s torikawa), the skin is served in a bowl with the sauce, which allows it to soak the tart and sweet ponzu flavour. I felt that this was nicer than the torikawa, which I also tried.

20180326_191856

The total damage was 2500 yen, which was pretty expensive for yakitori, but with the amount I ate, also very satisfying. After leaving, I ended the evening walking around Gion, which is vibrant at night with shoppers and buskers, then found some tranquility and reflection walking back along the canal.

20180326_200452

Where to find Yakitori Tarokichi:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s