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photo credit: Erin Ng

Moku Yakitori-Ya image
8.2

Moku Yakitori-Ya

Japanese

Richmond

$$$$Perfect For:Small PlatesEating At The BarWalk-Ins

Included In

You’ll smell Moku Yakitori-Ya before you see it. The scent of sizzling steak and pork cheek wafts out of this tiny Richmond izakaya like an air freshener for the entire three-block radius. If that’s not enough to draw you in, the Japanese small plates coming out of this spot will. They’re excellent—and everything you could ever hope to devour alongside an endless flow of beer and sake. 

You could cross the whole restaurant (which regulars will recognize as the former izakaya Halu) in the same number of steps it takes to traverse Clement Street. There’s nothing flashy going on in this small space, but it still has character—a binchotan grill behind the bar blankets the whole place in a perpetual smoky haze (lean into it), anime plays on loop above it, and just a couple of staff run the entire show.

Moku Yakitori-Ya image

photo credit: Erin Ng

As for the food, go for whatever sounds good, eat it all, and prepare for another round—these smoky dishes sing. Deep-fried mochi is a chewy dream over a zippy ponzu and chili sauce, while takoyaki stays crispy under a layer of mayo and Japanese barbecue sauce. The fried chicken skin is also thin and crackly. The headliner of a meal here, though, are the grilled skewers. The broad selection of skewered meats, vegetables, and seafood ranges from chicken thighs and juicy king oyster mushrooms to our favorite pork belly that glistens.  

This place is laid back enough to keep it in your back pocket for casual occasions, like chill last-minute dates, solo dinners, and sake-drenched nights where eating your bodyweight in perfectly charred meat is a priority. Service is also efficient but never rushed. And rotating specials, like tiny grilled firefly squid skewers that are both crispy and creamy, keep dinner exciting every time. 

Food Rundown

Moku Yakitori-Ya image

photo credit: Erin Ng

Kushiyaki

Moku’s lengthy menu of skewers is a good indicator that ordering some is practically a requirement. Any you go for will be hot off the grill and perfect. But our favorites are the harami (wagyu koji steak), buta bara (pork belly), and, if they’re in season, the firefly squid, or hotaru-ika.
Moku Yakitori-Ya image

photo credit: Erin Ng

Kiri Mochi

We’ve never once left the premises without ordering at least one plate of this deep-fried mochi—they’ll make regular appearances in your manifestation journal. The plump pillows are served in a tangy ponzu-chili sauce.
Moku Yakitori-Ya image

photo credit: Erin Ng

Takoyaki

A great rendition of the crispy octopus-filled snack. They’re finished off with squiggles of mayonnaise and Japanese barbecue sauce for added sweetness.
Moku Yakitori-Ya image

photo credit: Erin Ng

Garlic Yaki-Ramen

One of the carbier, more filling options on the menu. The scallions and fish roe on top add an extra punch of umami.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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