Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Yakitori Taisho [East Village, NY]

I decided on a lark that for dinner, I would walk on St. Marks and find a Japanese place that looked good--on menu at least. My roommate, neighbor, and I decided to enter Yakitori Taisho, a small and narrow little place brimming with people. Lots of people on a Tuesday night? That should already be a good indication, no? Luckily, we didn't have to wait.

The menu has a lot of yakitori options, but nothing will compare to Shin Shen Gumi in terms of diversity. In addition to yakitori, there were ramen and yakisoba dishes, some rice dishes, and a lot of tapas. We decided not to share any of the tapas which is probably a good call because I would have ordered EVERYTHING, running up the bill.

I did have a hankering for some ramen, but decided that I wouldn't try any ramen until I went to Ippudo. So instead, I ordered 1 skewer of: tsukune (chicken meatballs), gyutan (beef tongue), butabara (pork), yakitori (chicken), and 2 orders of tebasaki (chicken wings). They came on a bed of chopped cabbage, which was odd because I was expecting them to come on a plate with marinade. The marinade was at the bottom of the plate, but very watered down.

My favorites were the gyutan and butabara: both were flavorful and very tender. I wish I ordered more of these. The chicken was also good (thigh meat) but I was surprised it didn't come with some chopped scallions or onions. My least favorites had to be the tebasaki chicken wings and the tsukune. The tsukune was not very flavorful and it lacked the depth that I am used to at other yakitori places. The tebasaki was burnt in places, and not very meaty. Usually I see them cooked as fatty chicken wings but these were very lean and offered very little to munch on.

My neighbor, Kurtis, ordered a rice bowl that came with a few skewers and some kimchi. He agreed that the tsukune was average, although he didn't react as strongly as I did to the taste. Since I couldn't even finish the meatballs, I gave him the rest of mine.

He got the memo that this is an awkward eats blog.
My roommate Sadie was hankering for some noodles and although there were a handful of choices, she ordered a staple. Yakisoba with sliced pork and garnished with fish flakes. Judging that she finished the entire dish, I assume she was happy with it.

Overall, I am still on the lookout for a yakitori place that will blow Shin Shen Gumi out of the water. There are some gems at this place, especially ones I want to try next time like the salmon cream yakisoba. The prices are decent ($1.75-2.75/skewer, dishes range from $6-15+) although I wish the tapas were just a tad bit less expensive (a plate of 5 takoyaki for example was $6).
Yakitori Taisho
5 St Marks Pl
NYC, NY 10003
(212) 228-5086


Anonymous said...

I didnt get to try this place but my friend goes there. I dont think anything will blow Shin Sen Gumi (新撰組) out of the water. As for Ippudo, I hope I don't hype it up too much since we have such good food out here in LA. I also hope you don't have to wait 2 hours like I did.

Don't know if you've tried Katz's Deli but please do and then go and find another place that's cheaper but just as good. kthxbye

NickL said...

the above comment was from me.