Monday, September 4, 2017

焼鳥 山もと (Yakitori Yamamoto in Mitaka)

焼鳥 山もと

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Yakitori? Hunh?

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I thought I would take this chance to showcase a shop I really love, one that has a ramen trick up their sleeve.

Yamamoto is hidden down some stairs in the basement of a nondescript building in Mitaka, on the way out of Tokyo. Tourists may know the area for having the quirky Ghibli Museum, but not much else.

Well, they have some amazing eats.

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And amazing drinks. Half of this shop is a dedicated sake cellar. Not only that, but the master really loves pairing his yakitori with aged sake served hot. While most Americans have had hot sake, they probably had poor quality stuff that was served hot to mask the flavors. It's actually quite rare to find a sake that is meant to be served near boiling.

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Oh, and the yakitori.

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Small skewers of chicken bits, expertly grilled over a charcoal grill.

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Hearts, livers, and skin. I disliked these "non-standard" bits when I first came to Japan, but when cooked by a master, I can't keep away.

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This is a high-end spot. Many high-end yakitori restaurants operate the way a good sushi restaurant would; omakase. You sit, and the master serves you. You can, of course, request pieces you like, but you are in the chef's hands.

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A dozen or so skewers is common.

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Another standard procedure at a good yakitori shop is to finish with some carbs. The most common dish is oyakodon, a rice bowl topped with chicken and egg.

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Yamamoto has something different, though. Something that warrants them a spot on Ramen Adventures.

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Tsukemen! Just a simple chicken broth with some wafu umami going on, and noodles. Lot's of chicken flavors going on, as expected. Kind of the perfect end to a meal (except that we had some homemade egg pudding after).

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By the way, reservations are a must, and they may be hard to come by. Have a friend or hotel concierge call. Expect to spend around $100 for a meal here.

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