photo credit: Frank Ahn

Izakaya Toribar review image

Izakaya Toribar


164 E 56th St, New York
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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. Try to snag one of the five seats that are less than a foot away from the grills. (There’s a thick glass partition so you won’t leave smelling like smoke.) This place has small plates like chicken karaage and gyoza as well as Japanese hot pot and teppanyaki, but the main reason to come is the yakitori. Most of it costs around $4, and 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 scallop and quail egg kushikatsu.

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