Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Torigen 鳥元 (Tokyo, JAPAN) ★★★☆☆

After spending the entire afternoon in Jiyūgaoka, we returned to Meguro close to dinner time and that was when it started raining a bit. Instead of heading further away for dinner in the rain, we decided to simply catch a quick meal near the Nakameguro station.

Located on the ground floor of the Nakameguro Sunrise Building, Torigen (鳥元) was just the perfect find for us. I have been longing for some yakitori since I touched down in Tokyo a few days ago and it's situated a few hundred metres away from the subway station. That checked all the boxes for an ideal place for a quick bite.

Torigen's main dining room looks pretty comfortable but we wanted a little more privacy.

So we were led down this hallway into the private dining area.

It's always good to see a restaurant using environment friendly stuff.

Right after we placed our orders, I went to check out their grill to make sure that it's indeed the traditional Japanese charcoal grill that they're using. I had some bad experience with yakitori shops using electrical grills and their skewers turned out to be pretty awful. 

Chicken chazuke (380yen) - This was the first dish to arrive ahead of all the skewers. 

It's a very simple Japanese dish (茶漬飯) made by pouring green tea or hot water over cooked rice and served with toppings like green onion, seaweed and in this case, poached chicken strips too. Judging from the color (and taste), I'm not entirely sure if it's green tea that was poured in. It tasted a little like Chinese congee but I like the combination of flavors to kick off this meal.

The wait was finally over; our first batch of skewers were ready to be served. This consisted of chicken wings skewers (180yen) and grilled chicken patty (250yen) both cooked with a special soy and miso sauce. Not bad although I really wanted a little more smokey flavors coming from the grill.

Next batch consisted of skewers primarily marinated with salt. These included grilled chicken patty with salt (250yen), chicken wings with salt (180yen), grilled duck meat (350yen) and ox tongue (350yen). I really like the duck meat and chicken wings here for its wonderful rich flavors. I thought the chicken patty has got to be a little more meaty and forget about the ox tongue! Way too rubbery for my teeth.....

Bacon oyster roll (220yen) - These were pretty good though not in the perfect golden brown color as I would expect. A bit more time in the grill would probably serve it well.

Maitake mushroom pork roll (260yen) - I love fatty pork but this marriage with maitake mushroom wasn't very good.

Oyster buckwheat soba in ginger broth (980yen) - This was a seasonal dish with steamed oysters and buckwheat soba all inside a warm broth. Not bad.

Signature deep-fried chicken wings (580yen) - More stuff from the kitchen instead of the grill. This is supposed to be their house specialty but I like the wings from the grill a lot more.

Deep-fried burdock (380yen) - I love deep fried burdocks. Just throw me some any day. These ones were a little chewy but it helped my craving for Japanese burdocks.

Torigen (鳥元) has more than 20 branches in Tokyo with their Tokyo Station outpost being the most famous of the bunch. Check them out if you're looking for a reasonably priced yakitori experience!

Food Rating: 4.5/10
Price: ¥¥¥
Address: 1/F Nakameguro Sunrise Building, 3-8-5 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Closest Metro Station: Nakameguro
Tel: +81 3-5768-1133
Website: www.torigen.jp

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