Tori Shin

We recently met a friend, through a friend, whom we met through another friend, and quickly became friends. Le, our new friend, is in to food, taking culinary classes, and has tried most of the Japanese restaurants in the city. In his mind, Tori Shin Tori Shin is the go to place for yakitori, so we had to try it out.

As usual, Lon likes to go for the Chef’s Omakase, the full sha-bang. We started with lightly salted daikon and cucumber, fresh, crisp, and refreshing.

Daikon and Cucumber

The omakase includes two house special dishes (which probably change). The milk pudding with a bit of uni was everyone’s least favorite. It was gloppy with a light rice taste to it, not at all creamy. The uni was kind of a waste as it didn’t add anything.

milk pudding with uni

The other was a very home-style dish of chicken and vegetables cooked in lightly sweetened soy sauce. Nothing special.

Chicken and vegetables

Our first skewer was medium-rare chicken with dabs of wasabi. The chicken’s rareness didn’t make a striking difference to me; as opposed to beef where the difference between medium-rare and well-done is critical.

medium rare chicken with wasabi

I liked the palate cleaner that followed: freshly grated radish, with a bit of soy sauce poured on.

radish cleanser

The black mushroom was cooked so perfectly, juicy and plump from the marinade. Lon managed to eat one (big step for him) so I got an extra.

black mushroom

The Gizzards were cooked perfectly, but under-seasoned and needed some acid.

chicken gizzard

You may well know my disinterest in chicken breast, but this was interesting. It was wrapped in Shiso with a dab of Ume plum. I happen to also dislike shiso, but I can appreciate the balance of these flavors. The plum is preserved and salty, while Shiso is refreshing, and chicken breast is just a canvas. Lon is not a fan of Ume but really enjoyed this item.

chicken breast with shiso and ume

The liver was cooked as perfectly and again screamed for some acid.

chicken liver

The chicken wing was not your average appendage, expertly cut so that the meat lined up in between each bone, like baby back ribs. Fatty parts are always better, but again, I wanted some acid.

chicken wing

Ginko nuts, which I’ve never eaten before, are like popcorn-flavored dried soy beans. They tasted good, but again, were under-seasoned. By this point, Lon directly asked the chef for salt, which he gladly provided.


Chicken thigh meat is always good and I finally got some acid (see that lemon wedge?). We all tried to hold on to our lemon wedge to use for following skewers.

chicken thigh

The Chicken Rib was awesome. Think about the meat by the rib area, it’s that extra chewy, bouncy meat. I really enjoyed the rib, but Lon found it too chewy.

chicken rib

The chicken hip was kind of like frogs legs because of the cartilage, but extra fatty.

chicken hip

I was glad to get a break from chicken at this point. The okra was grilled expertly, the ginger was fresh, and the bonito added a nice smokiness. Yet I still felt like something was missing from this.


Our favorite piece arrived next: the Chicken and Duck Meatball, served with a egg yolk to lather all over. The sweet soy sauce is caramelized nicely on the outside and the inside is soft and juicy.

chicken and duck meatball egg yolk

We were then given a choice between two rice dishes: Lon got the ground chicken and poached egg over rice and seaweed. This is very tasty although similar to the chicken meatball. It comes with a nice chicken broth too.

ground chicken and egg on rice chicken soup

I chose the rice in soup with seaweed, a light but filling end.

rice in soup

You also get a choice between two desserts: Lon had the Shiso Sorbet, which is unmistakably shiso and delivered with some blueberries and raspberries.

Shiso sorbet

I had the Sake and White Wine Jello with strawberries and a rosemary garnish, a perfect dessert after such a big meal. It’s light and you can do most of the eating with your eyes.

sake and white wine gelatin

While I really appreciate the attention to detail (except the weak seasoning), the fresh ingredients, and the refined Japanese service, Lon and I both feel that Yakitori, even possibly at it’s best, is just not exciting enough to pay $100 per person (including tax and tip). If you like yakitori, try their pre fixed menu or order a la carte. The Chef’s Omakase is too expensive and you just don’t need that much food.
posted by jessica at 12:04 AM Filed under Asian, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.