6 Great Yakitori Spots In NYC
Where to find exceptional meat, seafood, and veggie skewers across the city.
In the mood for some charred chicken skin, pork belly, and king oyster mushrooms? From casual spots where you can have skewers and drink sake for hours to upscale omakase counters, these are all the places you should be eating grilled things stabbed with sticks.
This somewhat hidden second-floor spot near Columbus Circle has a mind-boggling selection of skewers, and you’ll genuinely have a hard time narrowing down what to order. Definitely go for some juicy tsukune and tender chicken oysters as well as pork neck (mostly fat, not complaining) and okra with bonito flakes (our favorite among the vegetables). This place is casual with lots of counter seating that’s good for solo dining, but coming with one or two other people will enable you to try a lot more things.
There are a few different ways to experience Torishin in Hell’s Kitchen, but no matter what path you choose, you’ll have an unforgettable meal. You can order à la carte skewers, do a tasting menu, or sit in a private room with a chef who will make you a meal so memorable that you’ll daydream about chicken parts for weeks to come. The people behind the grills treat every skewer with as much care and technique as any artist would while creating something special.
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photo credit: Liz Clayman
This Tokyo import offers a $180 15-course yakitori omakase in Noho that consists of different chicken parts and a few vegetables. After you walk through some heavy curtains, you’ll be seated at a 17-seat counter and proceed to have a mostly silent meal that’s only interrupted by brief descriptions from the chefs. All of the grilled skewers are top notch, especially the glazed meatballs that seem to melt when you bite into them. Bring a client or date that you have to impress.
photo credit: Frank Ahn
When you step into this dark, smallish basement restaurant in Midtown East, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a sake den in the East Village. You can specify how you want each skewer seasoned (with salt or tare), which you can’t do at most yakitori places. Our favorites are the straightforward chicken thigh with scallions and the roe-filled smelt, and be sure to save room for the deep-fried scallop and quail egg kushikatsu.
Similar to Torien, your only option here is a $175 omakase that has 13 courses and is served at a 14-seat counter. Around halfway through your meal, the server will present you with a jewel-box offering of add-ons that include things like rooster crown and the rarely-seen Chochin skewer. We get why the latter is the chef’s favorite item. It combines fallopian tube with chicken liver that adds a bit of acid to cut the richness of an unlaid egg grilled in its membrane.
photo credit: Teddy Wolff
This place in Nomad—with its exposed pipes and ducts—makes you feel like you're eating in someone's industrial loft. Although you can get dishes ranging from a sushi roll with shaved parmesan to chicken liver pâté, the specialty at this spot from the team behind Palpal is yakitori. Plan on ordering a ton of skewers, including the soft-boiled tamago wrapped in bacon, beef tongue, and the salmon with tomato and a creamy sauce.