I reprocessed the photos for this post as the originals did not do justice to the quality yakitori they served.
Meguro, which has a station on the Yamanote Line, is a beautiful area to stroll around. It’s a popular spot for sakura viewing in spring and ranks among the most pleasant places to live in, in Tokyo. If you go there, you might want to check out the yakitori restaurants. It has some of the top-rated places in the city!
Torihiko is a bit of a secluded restaurant located on the basement floor of the Meguro Business Mansion Building. This tiny (only seats 20 customers) is run by a husband, wife and daughter team. Nonetheless it’s quite worth the visit as the restaurant has great reviews for its delicious yakitori and warm, classy atmosphere.
The establishment did not allow photos of the place or the chef at work so you have to take my words for it. The room was filled with a soft, non intrusive background music of jazz classics. The chef (and the owner) danced to the rhythm of the Jazz, fanning the whiffs of smoke and controlling the temperature of the fire at the same time.
Everything here is shio-yaki (grilled with salt). This is unusual as most places have a soy-based tare sauce for the grilling. Nonetheless, the food is delectable because of the high quality of the ingredients. The minimum spend is the Torihiki course (shown below) for ¥3,500 which also includes a drink. You can only provide to other ala carte items after you ordered the course. Of course, there’s another ¥700 cover charge like all Izakaya which they give you the dessert at the end.
Ala Carte and Drinks
But it was the rest of the items I have ordered for the evening that was interesting.
The grilled mentaiko was crispy and dry, the way I love it. Others on the menu like pork ribs, quail eggs with bacon, baby mountain yams and duck breast, were all grilled to perfection and seldom featured in other yakitori restaurants.
And then the drinks kept coming.
1/ Kamoshibito Kuheiji “EAU DU DÉSIR” Junmai Daiginjo Yamadanishiki 2013 Vintage 醸し人九平次 別誂（べつあつらえ）純米大吟醸
“Eau du Désir” means “water of hope”. A cult brewery from Aichi Prefecture, Kuheiji is pioneering the next generation of young sake brewers. Kuheiji has been revolutionary in using vintage rice as well as aging sake to develop complexity, taking cues from winemakers in Burgundy.
Elegant and pleasant like rose, a Junmai Daiginjo presenting the ultimate charm of sake. Grassy and green with the notes of grapefruit, this sake is sweet and mellow like honey, showing an aftertaste with soft tartness and mineral character.
2/ “Leaping Hare” Limited Edition “Century of Loneliness” 野うさぎの走り 「百年 の孤独」 黒木本店 焼酎
野うさぎの走り or “Leaping Hare” is produced in Miyazaki by the Kuroki Honten 黒木本店 rice shochu 焼酎 distillery, fermented with koji yeast. The distillery was founded in Meiji 18, 135 years old. Koji is the essence of shochu-making. The hand-aging process is crucial to growing quality koji. Raw koji material is sprinkled with water like rain, mixed like soil, warmed like the sun, and cooled like the wind. Like the farming cycle, this careful procedure allows koji to be nurtured through a rich germination and fermentation process.
Here’s the trivial – Japanese drink more shochu than sake. Sake production was similar to beer making, but shochu is the whiskey of the rice alcohol world!
First, drinking it straight. The smoky and citrusy scents were wonderful. And then how the chef suggested, on the rocks. The aftertaste was dry and the bouquet lingering. The bouquet was quite mixed, many scents and flavour profiles were present.
3/ Kuroushi Junmai Ginjo “Black Bull” 黒牛 純米 生原酒 しぼりたて
Kuroushi 「黒牛」is the local sake of Wakayama, and was originally called Kikumiyi 菊御代（きくみよ）. Located about 10 km south of Wakayama City, Kuroe is a craftsman town that has prospered as a lacquerware production area since the Muromachi period. It was once a secluded cove, a scenic spot that was described as “Kuroushigata” 「黒牛潟」in Manyoshu (an ancient travel guide). The name of he sake came from the legendary black cow-shaped rock on the beach near Kura.
The nose on this very special Junmai Ginjo sake is filled with earthy, ricey, honey, and leathery elements. This extremely well balanced sake is supremely rich and very full-bodied. It is a hearty sake that has enough um-pah-pah to stand up to ton of large flavored cuisines, but is also very drinkable on its own. Each glass is an example of the depth and grace of an Omachi rice sake that is vast and solid and reminds one that drinking sake is drinking rice and not fruit.
A worthy mention of Torihiko. They really take their drinks serious. Even every pour of their draft beer is made with strict instructions from the brewery itself. Suntory has given the restaurant the Master certificate for pouring the perfect beer.
Highly recommended if you are in the vicinity of Meguro.
2 Chome-15-2 Kamiosaki, Shinagawa, Tokyo 141-0021, Japan
Tel : +81 3-3448-9625
Date Visited : Jan 2015