Located in the heart of Koreatown, Kintori Yakitori (@) has been serving up grilled meat skewers since the winter of 2014. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 5pm till midnight, so whether you’re looking for dinner or a cozy spot to grab a beer and a bite, Kintori Yakitori has got you covered.
This yakitori joint is located just above its sister restaurant Kinton Ramen 2 (@kintonramen). Both Kintori Yakitori and Kinton Ramen are part of the Kinka Family which also owns all the Kinka Izakayas in town (previously ‘Guu’), and JaBistro. After Kinka first opened in Toronto, izakayas took the city by storm, opening up right left and centre. However, there still seems to be a lack of yakitori joints. Kintori is just one of a handful of restaurants specializing in yakitori in the city.
Upon entering Kintori, I was surprised by how small the space was. I’m guessing it fits maybe 30 people or so but it really adds to the coziness of the space. There’s a combination of table seating and kitchen counter seating which overlooks the (somewhat) open kitchen – it’s separated by glass which allows diners to watch the chefs work their magic.
As their name suggests, Kintori Yakitori specializes in grilled meat skewers, particularly chicken (as the word ‘yakitori’ translates to grilled chicken). A large chunk of their menu is dedicated to these skewers which includes premium offerings (including wagyu beef and rack of lamb which range in price from $3.8 to $8.8/skewer), chicken skewers (with nearly every part of the chicken for $2/skewer), pork skewers ($2), beef skewers ($3.2) and veggie skewers ($1.8). All their skewers are cooked over special binchotan charcoal which is imported from Japan.
Other menu items include ramen (the benefit of being located above a Kinton), tapas (including kale gomaae and blowtorched cured mackerel), hot dishes (including karaage and takoyaki) as well as rice/noodle dishes. Drink-wise, they offer Sapporo on tap, which goes amazingly well with yakitori, bottled Asahi and a selection of wine and sake.
Last week, I was invited to a media event and had the chance to enjoy a selection of their offerings. Here’s a look at what we tried:
Chicken Original Soup (chicken broth from Kinton Ramen downstairs)
Oshinko Moriawase – assorted housemade Japanese pickles
Negima – chicken thigh & scallion sauce
Zuri – chicken gizzards
Nikumiso Kyabetsu – cabbage salad with housemade chicken miso dip
Tebasaki – chicken wing
Uzura Kushi Age – panko breaded deep-fried quail eggs
Premium Gyu-Tongue – premium beef tongue
Tsukune – chicken meatball
Hatsu – chicken heart
Reba – chicken liver
Asparagus – panko breaded deep-fried asparagus wrapped with bacon
Negi Shio Gyu – beef with scallion sauce
Dashi Maki – Japanese omelette
Yaki Onigiri – char-grilled rice ball with plum filling & sweet teriyaki sauce
Houji Cha Brulee – roasted green tea crème brulee
Yakitori is such a simple concept but it’s so satisfying when executed well. My personal favourites from Kintori were the Zuri (chicken gizzards), Hatsu (chicken heart), Premium Gyu-Tongue and Asparagus. Gizzards are one of my favourite chicken parts. They just have such a nice crunchy texture to them. Grilled with a sprinkling of salt is all this organ needs! I was also a big fan of the chicken heart which is another organ with a unique texture. These ones had a slight chew to them without being too chewy. One of the other bloggers was a little apprehensive about eating the chicken hearts but one bite in and they were hooked.
I’m a sucker for beef tongue and this didn’t disappoint. The thin slices were wonderfully tender and left me wanting more. For some veggies, we were served the Asparagus – panko breaded deep-fried asparagus wrapped with bacon. Sure, it’s not the healthiest form of greens but it was certainly tasty! Bacon and asparagus make such a great pairing.
Kintori Yakitori is open late every night for you to get your yakitori fix! They serve quite the selection of offal, so make sure you come with an open mind!
*This was a complimentary meal. The opinions in the post, as always, are my own.*