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8.0
NYC

Yakitori Totto

Perfect For: Adventurous Eating Authentic Ethnic Eats Dining Solo Pre-Theater Eats Small Plates
8.0
NYC

Yakitori Totto

First things first - if you are walking into a restaurant on the ground floor, you are NOT walking into Yakitori Totto. Yakitori Totto is on the second floor. We nearly made that mistake, but the guy in the street level Japanese restaurant looked so surprised to see customers, we figured something was up. Head up the narrow stairs, and you should find a packed house full of people that look really happy. That's Yakitori Totto.

These kinds of places can be tricky for us to review. It's much harder to make hilarious pop culture references and sarcastic generalizations when you really have no idea what the f*ck is going on around you. We love Japanese food and Japanese culture, but let's put it this way - our answer to "what kind of sake would you like" is usually, "the middle one."

Nonetheless, we embrace the unknown. Yakitori Totto has come highly recommended by some of our most trusted allies, all who swear by the authenticity of the place. Clearly their specialty is "yakitori" - a Japanese term for meat (and other things) grilled on a stick. And that's what you should be sticking to. The menu is full of Japanese specialties and interesting starters and salads, but what you need to do is dive right in on the skewers. There are tons of options to choose from, ranging from chicken thighs to chicken gizzards, enoki mushrooms and beef tongue. We recommend that you lean heavy on the chicken selections, and don't be afraid to roll the dice on something weird. That "soft knee bone" might actually be pretty delicious.

Food Rundown

Fresh Cucumber with Spicy Sauce

This is an interesting starter, basically a small cucumber sliced on a bias and drowned in spicy sauce. We liked it ok, but there was something a bit slimy about it.

Avocado & Tuna Salad

Basically Japanese guacamole.

Yakitori

I'm not sure that it's technically "yakitori" if it's not chicken, but anything that came on a stick is going in this part of the rundown. We loved the Tsukune, a chicken meatball that you dip in egg. Also, the Pork with Scallion and Ponzu was good, and the Chicken Thigh with Scallion was better. We got crazy and tried Chicken Heart, which we liked way more than we expected to, but we expected it to be terrible. We also kind of wanted to see the chef pull it out of the chicken, Temple of Doom style. The Shoshito Peppers were also tasty. In general, you should order a lot from this part of the menu, and be adventurous. Where else are you gonna get some skewered kobe beef tongue?

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