Kono review image



46 Bowery, New York
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Turn down the alley that separates Elizabeth Street from the Bowery and you’ll find yourself at Kono, a sleek, serious yakitori restaurant with a crown-to-tail approach to serving chicken. The only option here is a $165 omakase, and it can be one of the most memorable dinners of your life, but only if you make the right choices regarding a la carte add-ons. 

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The setting fades into the background, and that’s intentional. Almost everything in the space is black (even the toilet paper in the bathroom). It’s as though the restaurant itself is made up entirely of stagehands whose sole purpose is to glorify the organic Amish chickens that form the centerpiece of the omakase. 

You’ll be served some really delicious things as part of this set. There’s a chrysanthemum-shaped rice cracker sandwich that contains a delightful cube of chicken liver gussied up with black truffle and gold leaf, and a teacup of broth that tastes like the very essence of chicken. 

Once the skewers start rolling, you’ll get knee, heart, and liver, but also inner thigh, chicken oyster—all of which are prepared with an eye towards drawing attention to the flavor of the meat. The liver skewer is impossibly creamy, and the heart is bouncy with a mineral taste. You’ll need to work around the texture of the knee, crunching through soft bone and cartilage to enjoy the deep, sausage-like flavor of the meat. Not every course hits, but the highs are high enough to make up for low points like unremarkable vegetables and a riff on chicken katsu that lacks flavor and texture. 

Kono review image

If you've read about this restaurant on the internet, you probably know about the Chochin skewer, a dainty stack of fallopian tube, liver, and an unlaid egg. A resin model of the skewer will appear mid-meal in an add-on box with several of the other most interesting bites on offer, like crown, kidney, and gizzards. Order at least a few. The Chochin has a buttery flavor and velvet texture that bursts through the membrane of the unlaid egg like a popping boba. The kidney is another standout, with a jelly-like texture and a coating of sweet sauce. But just like the omakase, there’s filler in the jewel box: $50 cubes of wagyu, for example, pork belly, more vegetables.

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The simplest things on the menu at Kono are the most stunning, so the presence of filler courses feels confusing. If they served a single menu containing only their greatest hits, this would instantly move to the top of our list of most memorable restaurants. But even with a few flaws in the structure of the menu, we still love this place. You’ll have bites of food so simple and perfect they’ll move you near tears, making you contemplate your role as a speck of dust in the wide universe where an unlaid chicken egg can taste this good. 

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Food Rundown

Kono review image


This changes periodically, but you’ll always get around 15 courses that begin with things like that chicken liver rice cracker situation and a cup of very delicate chicken broth. These will be followed by a parade of skewers, the undisputed best of which is the tsukune. There are also some vegetables, some very tasty grilled quail legs that feel a bit out of place, soba noodles, and an Okinawan black sugar creme brulee.

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The chef says this is his favorite skewer, and we haven’t seen it on other yakitori menus in the city. The chicken liver adds a bit of acid to cut the richness of the unlaid egg, which pops like a creamy boba when you bite into it.

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This is probably the best tsukune in New York. The interior is juicy and flavorful, with just the right amount of char on the outside. The egg yolk it's served with is extra silky and brilliantly orange.

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Another hard-to-find bite, if you like crunchy cartilage, you’ll love this. If you don’t, you won’t. You’ll get one male and one female crown. The female is ever-so-slightly softer, but not by much.


One of our favorite bites of the meal, the kidney has a smokey-sweet glaze and is served medium-rare, giving meaty, custardy, and charred textures all in one bite. It’s really, really good.


Heart, liver, and gizzards are all prepared on the rare side, which accentuates the crispy textures. We did not love the gizzards here as much as we love other gizzards. They were a bit gamey, but still pretty alright.


We mention this only because you absolutely shouldn’t order it. It’s a $50 cube of steak that’s just meh.

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