My F&W
quick save (...)

A Self-Guided Study of Japanese Food: Understanding Yakitori

F&W’s editor, Dana Cowin, sets out to understand Japanese food traditions—but is soon impressed by how modern and trendsetting the cuisine really is.

At Yakitori Totto, on the second floor of a squat walk-up, my dining companion was French chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. Eric loves this place. For the longest time, he would go anonymously and wait on line like everyone else. The idea of one of the greatest chefs in the world standing in a dark stairwell, patiently awaiting his turn to be seated, really tickled me. But it also confirmed that the food was worth learning more about.

We chose seats at the counter to get a look at the cute cooks methodically turning bamboo skewers on a flat grill. The skewers held a diverse set of chicken parts, including knees, skin, tail, cartilage (breast bone) and meatballs. In the past few years, chefs in America have followed this model by leaving their closed-door kitchens to cook out in the open, as these grillers were. But Yakitori Totto reminded me that the Japanese shortened the distance between cook and customer eons ago.

To make sure I got the full experience, Eric did all the ordering, including pretty much only pieces of the chicken that I’d never tried before. I admit it made me squeamish to eat chicken heart, but I barely chewed, swallowed quickly and tried not to think too hard.

Study of Japanese Food


You Might Also Like

Comments

Add A Comment

    Add a Comment

    See our terms
    You must be logged in to comment. or
    advertisement
    The Dish
    Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
    The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
    F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
    American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
    How we use your email address
    advertisement
    Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

    Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.