Sumibi Kushiyaki Torito
Another top notch Yakitori shop in Kyoto town but perhaps a little more upmarket than most. The eatery has a slightly more modern setting than your average Yakitori-ya and they do a few interesting takes on the chook theme. It is ALWAYS pumping so make a booking or be prepared to wait. And this is no ‘throw it down and run’ kinda stick joint – people like to relax into it around here. The beer and sake flows freely at Sumibi Torito – as it is more commonly known.
The crowd is a real mix of people from the young and partying to grunty older men and sophisticated office ladeez but the cool thing is they are all having a great time mingling. It gets so packed in here that you can’t help but be swept up in the community vibe – nor have one of several waiters squish against you on route to a table at the front – it is all part of the mirthful and delicious experience.
Lovely starter of lesser used chickeny bits ( I think from around the neck) and skin with pink peppercorns
A zesty ‘ponzu- dressed’ salad of random chicken bits with teensy Yasuoka leeks – a must order dish.
Liver – we didn’t actually get to try this but it looked good..
Neck/skin brushed with tare ( yakitori sauce)
Thigh with onion and sesame topping
Salt grilled tenderloin with lemon
Grilled onigiri ( rice ball, brushed with soy )
The Tsukune (minced chicken yakitori) here is top shelf (and clearly popular)…. and the eggs were too die for, making the most wonderfully natural and easiest sauce in the world
Oh the eggy joy.
Wings (tebasaki). Finger lickin’ good.
Thigh with negi ( spring onion/pencil leeks)
A touch more sake? I won’t say no….. I love the custom of the overpour into the cedar undercups. A sign of generosity.
Do be prepared for at least one of your neighbours to be smoking as they enjoy their food. I am not a fan of restaurants in Japan where smoking is still allowed but when the food is this good, and there’s smoke coming off the grill anyway -well, I can handle….. The boy was pretty excited when I said ‘if you can’t beat em you might as well join em’ so he puffed away with the deepest satisfaction – all the while knowing that he will very rarely, if ever, get the nod to do so again.
And what is a chicken joint without Karaage ? This was excellent. The skin so crisp, thin and light it almost shattered as we bit into it. Only the highest quality chicken is used at Sumibi Torito so every bite of every dish is full of deep chicken flavour.
We finished with a nabe filled with soul nurturing zosui (rice soup) made with chicken stock and rich eggs.
So damn simple but really hits the spot.