Yakitori Totto review image

Yakitori Totto


251 W 55th St 2nd Floor, New York
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

What’s fun about Yakitori Totto in Midtown is that you get to try so many different things. Kid… candy store… you get what we’re saying. You’ll have to climb up stairs to find this restaurant, which gives it a speakeasy feel. And like at any good speakeasy, you’ll feel special for snagging a seat here, and you’ll be a little annoyed that so many people already know about this place.

As the name indicates, this restaurant specializes in yakitori, so definitely go for some juicy tsukune and tender chicken oysters. But there are plenty of non-chicken options as well like pork neck (mostly fat, not complaining) and okra with bonito flakes (our favorite among the vegetables).

There are other things like appetizers and bowls of noodles, but ordering too many of these items feels a little bit like ordering a garden salad at a French bakery. (It’s not really why you’re here.) That being said, you should still get the mountainous deep-fried eggplant that comes bathing in a salty-sweet broth.

It’s entertaining to dine solo and sit at the counter right in front of the grills, but coming with one or two other people will enable you to try a lot more things. The skewer selection is huge, and you might feel overwhelmed by all the options. You won’t get to try everything you want in one visit, which means you’ll already be thinking about your return trip as soon as you pay the bill. Maybe this is all part of the restaurant’s strategy. If it is, we respect it. (And it’s working.)

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Food Rundown

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Spicy Cucumber Pickle

We like starting with this dish to set the table for all the protein-heavy items to come. The cucumbers are cool, snappy, and a little spicy. There’s a pleasant fruity finish reminiscent of passion fruit.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Nasu Mizore Gake

There are so many things going on in this hot appetizer: deep-fried eggplant, a light and sweet broth, herbs, mushrooms, fried mochi, and grated daikon. The eggplant skin arrives tough, so we suggest digging into the interior flesh first while the broth softens the skin.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang


When we think of ground chicken, it doesn’t exactly call to mind the greatest things we’ve ever eaten. But this oblong chicken meatball is somehow crispy on the outside and very juicy on the inside. We will never insult you again, ground chicken.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang


These are chicken oysters, which are basically the MVP of dark meat from a chicken. If you need more seasoning on this (or any) skewer, make good use of the pink salt, black pepper, chili pepper, and soy sauce that’s on every table.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Hiza Nankotsu

Imagine stripping all the meat from a chicken drumstick and just eating both ends. This skewer (pictured up top) is all about texture and is mostly cartilage, with a tiny bit of fat and almost zero meat.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang

Ton Toro

Accompanied by a few pieces of onion, this pork neck is mostly fat with a hard texture, which makes it chewy. We devoured it quickly, then seriously considered ordering it again.

Yakitori Totto review image

photo credit: Kenny Yang


Some combinations don’t sound great on paper (apple pie and cheddar cheese, for instance). We had some reservations about grilled okra with bonito flakes, but these two things shine together. Also, apple pie with cheddar cheese is actually pretty good.

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