Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kintori Yakitori

Located on the second floor of Kinton Ramen on 668 Bloor St. W., Kintori Yakitori is the newest addition to the Kinka Family of restaurants. I've had countless meals at GuuKinton Ramen and JaBistro (all Kinka restaurants) and because they are some of my favourite restaurants in the city, it's somewhat surprising that it took me more than six months to get my ass to Kintori (they opened in March of this year.)

I guess the reason why it took me so long to visit Kintori Yakitori (Twitter: @kintoriyakitori, Facebook: Kintori Yakitori) is because I never have "skewer cravings". I often have "sushi cravings", specifically Jabistro's Kyukyoku 'cause it's so mind-blowingly good, and "ramen cravings" usually for Kinton's Spicy Garlic Ramen, I will also never say no to Guu's Kakimayo, Carbonara Udon and Salmon Natto Yukke either. But "yakitori craving"? Not so much.

As I mentioned earlier, Kintori Yakitori is on the second floor of Kinton Ramen on Bloor. It's a pretty narrow and cozy space. I noticed that all four Kinka restaurants have very similar finishings with contemporary and simple decor.

Kintori's counter seating.

The window looks out to Bloor Street.

I always choose counter seating when given the choice. "Arigato Gozaimasu" means "Thank You" in Japanese.

A quick overview: "Yakitori" is traditionally a term used for a type of grilled chicken in Japan. Nowadays the terms "yakitori" and "kushiyaki" are used interchangeably in Japanese society, with "kushiyaki" being the formal term for foods encompassing both poultry and non-poultry items, skewered and grilled. Long story short... think meat, grilled to order over charcoal, served on bamboo sticks, and that's what you have at Kintori.

From Left to Right:
KAKUGIRI GYU-TONGUE - Cubed Beef Tongue ($4.8)
BUTA BARA - Pork Belly ($2)
TON TORO - Pork Cheek ($3)

3 Kinds - Chicken thigh, pork belly, vegetable ($5.5)

From Left to Right
ERINGI - Oyster Mushroom ($1.6)
MEKYABETSU - Brussels Sprouts ($1.6)
BUTA HORUMON - Pork Intestine ($2)
REBA - Chicken Liver ($2.2)
MOMO - Chicken Thigh ($1.8)

The pork intestine deserves a close-up because it was my favourite from the plate.

UNAGI - Eel w/ Sweet Teriyaki Sauce ($4.8)

TEBASAKI - Chicken Wing ($1.8)

The reason I like sitting at the counter :)

UZURA BACON - Bacon w/ Quail Egg ($2)
HIZANANKOTSU - Chicken Knee Cartilage ($2.3)

A better shot of the knee cartilage.

Back: KAWA - Chicken Skin ($2)
Front: BONJIRI - Chicken Tail ($2.5)

CHEESE TSUKUNE - Chicken meatball ($2.3)

Meatball stuffed with ooey-gooey cheese inside...what's not to like?

Yakitori accompanied by sake or ice cold beer is absolutely the best snack or meal. Casual, inexpensive and fun to eat, it's no wonder yakitori is ranked one of the most popular foods of all ages in Japan. All the skewers I had at Kintori were very well-seasoned; never once did I crave salt or any other kind of condiment. Charcoal-grilled meat straight-up is a terrific way to experience the natural flavour of meat. My favourites of the night were the beef tongue, pork intestine, chicken liver, chicken skin, chicken tail, chicken knee cartilage, eel and meatball. I usually stay away from chicken when I'm dining out but when it comes to yakitori, I want to order every type of chicken skewer on the menu (I was bummed that they didn't have chicken gizzard and chicken heart that evening.) Bite-sized and grilled on delicate bamboo skewers, every part of the chicken is cooked to a juicy and savory perfection. Some parts are crunchy (cartilage), some parts are crispy (skin) and some parts are fatty (tail). Just outstanding. I wish I can have chicken prepared this way all the time!

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