I thought that I would do this post and the one for Imanas Tei together since this restaurant is located right next door. If this place was never mentioned to me by one of my readers, I would have never thought that it was a different restaurant. But then again, I never really paid any attention because there are always people loitering in front of both places.
After entering the restaurant, you'll notice a counter area to the left, with a charcoal (?) grill towards the back, while straight ahead, and off to the right, were a few tables. When I arrived, there were a couple of seats open at the counter, but I chose a table right inside the front door so that I could get a good view. Not being too familiar with the restaurant or the items it served, when I was handed a menu, I immediately thought izakaya or yakitoriya. Anyone know?
Being that this was my first time here, I decided to sample a few of the grilled, skewered items (kushiyaki). Here are the ones that I ordered:
Sasami (chicken breast) with ponzu (US$1.60).
Clean and lightly seasoned, and a little dry (I guess because it was white meat), but the citrus-based ponzu sauce gave this a refreshing flavor.
Tori (chicken, US$1.20).
Boneless pieces of dark meat chicken coated in a sweet shoyu-based glaze. The chicken was moist and flavorful, but I would have preferred if it sat on the grill a bit longer and was a bit "charred".
Chicken back (US$1.80).
Boneless pieces of chicken seasoned lightly with just a little salt. I somehow expected the back meat to be "different", but I enjoyed it with a light spritz of lemon.
A ground chicken "meatball" that was lightly coated with a little of the sweet soy-based glaze and served with a dab of mustard on the side.
I wanted to order the negima (chicken and leeks), the tebasaki (chicken wings), nankotsu (chicken pieces with cartiladge) or the sunagimo (gizzards), but thought I would save those for my next visit.
Instead, I decided to order something a little more substantial -- the liver and chives (US$4.40).
Chicken livers were stir fried bean sprouts and chives, and seasoned with, what I presumed to be, a soy-based sauce. The tender livers proved to be an interesting contrast to the crunchy beansprouts and the overall flavor was savory and slightly smoky. I wondered to myself if this dish, or at least the livers, had been cooked on the charcoal grill as well.
After all of that, I decided to end my meal with a bowl of ramen (US$4.80).
This was a small bowl of shio ramen (salt based broth) that had been simply garnished with a square of nori, one quail egg, a piece of okra and some chopped green onions. The broth was clear and light, with just the faintest hint of saltiness.
2626 South King Street Suite 1