For the last two nights, we have indulged in two classic Japanese dinners: kushiyaki and kushikatsu. Kushi means skewer while yaki and katsu mean grilled (usually over a charcoal fire) and deep-fried, respectively. So put it all together and you have one night of grilled things on skewers and one of breaded and deep-fried things on skewers.
For kushiyaki we went to Torien, another must-eat on any trip I take to Tokyo. Run by a long-time friend of my parents, Cheetah, Toriden specializes in yakitori (grilled, skewered chicken).
Dave enjoyed the many varieties of chicken and pork-based skewers,
while I stuck to the veggie options.
Last night, my parents took us to one of their favorite places in Tokyo, Kushinobo, for kushikatsu.
You enter the dim, tranquil atmosphere and are seated at the long counter that wraps all the way around the restaurant. Right away two long ceramic dishes and a pot of vegetables are set in front of you. The ceramic dishes are to prepare with the six different sauces/condiments that are available for you to use with your skewers. The veggies are just for snacking on throughout the course of your dinner.
The meal is a set course of 40 skewers that just start coming (though you can stipulate any dietary restrictions at the beginning and those skewers will be skipped). You eat until you’re full and then say stop. At that point you can also order seconds of any skewers you particularly liked. I made it about a third of the way last night, while Dave made it over the halfway mark. We asked how many people actually make it to 40 and our chef said about two or three people a week. He also said that he’s seen sumo wrestlers come in and eat 130! As you eat, you place your empty skewers in one of these:
Some skewer highlights: