Saturday, September 3, 2011

A City Gem: Yakitori Totto

It doesn’t happen very often that you walk into a place and immediately know that it is one of the best.  We knew this was such an occasion as soon as we walked up the stairs and entered Yakitori Totto, which serves authentic Japanese food in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen.

When you enter, you’ll notice that the open grill is the centerpiece of the warm dining room.  For your first visit, pick a seat by the bar to observe the chefs masterfully create the many grilled skewers of joy, ranging from asparagus with bacon to skirt steak and scallops, available on the menu.

We were there for lunch and stared at the variety of options for a few minutes.  The appetizing pictures made our decisions that much more difficult.  After a back and forth exchange of, “Shall we get this, or maybe this … or actually …,” we finally decided on the Totto Don (chicken) and the Karubi Don (short rib).

To start off, the waitress brought us mixed green salads and miso soups with tofu.  It sounds standard, but both were delicious and a sign of what we were about to taste. In addition to the visuals and the sounds of the grill, the smell from it made the wait for our main courses that much more exciting.

Take a look at what we had:


 Chicken on the left and short rib on the right


Voilà – magic trick

As you can see, we devoured both dishes.  The meats were juicy and tender, served over a soft bed of rice with Japanese pickles and finely chopped scallion heads.  On the side, we had two perfectly steamed eggs.  Lunch was a complete sensory experience.

Service: Courteous and friendly, but attentiveness to the iced-water level in guests’ glasses could be increased.

Ambience: Bring a date or bring friends, it’ll be fun.  You’ll be craving yakitori soon after as we are right now.

Score: 4 out of 5 piggies.  While lunch is affordable, the schedule is definitely a drawback – M-F (11:30am – 2pm).  Yet, we highly recommended Yakitori Totto as a lunch spot to anyone in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West, or New York City!  The empty bowls and smiles on our faces captured how delicious Yakitori Totto is.

Yakitori Totto
251 West 55th Street 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019
(212) 245-4555


Sie Wai said...

been here and absolutely love love loveee it!

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