Shiso cheese pork roll and chicken tsukune stuffed shitake mushrooms (Photo: Richard Kirchner)

Maido Kushiyaki and Wine

My favorite yakitori restaurant in Japan

Shiso cheese pork roll and chicken tsukune stuffed shitake mushrooms (Photo: Richard Kirchner)
Richard Kirchner   - 3 min read

It may be hard to get excited about yakitori, but Maido Kushiyaki in Kanazawa Bunko sets a standard that few can match. I first came across Maido Kushiyaki back in 2011, and it has since become a favorite with my family and co-workers. It is by far the best yakitori we've found, in a country that certainly has no shortage of it.

Yakitori is a term that many associate with food that is skewered and then cooked. Tori means chicken in Japanese, but use of the word yakitori has taken on a larger definition that includes anything that is skewered and then cooked over a grill. Kushiyaki is a more precise Japanese word that captures the broader concept of "grilling on a skewer."

Chef Suzuki-san is the master chef and owner. He has taken kushiyaki to levels not often seen, even in Japan. As an example we only have to look at the pork (not quite the same as American bacon) wrapped tomatoes, which are served by any respectable yakitori restaurant in Japan. Here at Maido, he cold smokes them earlier in the day in a homemade smoker using cherry wood! Now I've only been in Japan for four years, but I've learned enough to know that chefs smoking their yakitori is way beyond the norm.

Some of our favorite orders here include the shiso cheese pork roll ¥200, chicken and shitake mushroom tsukune ¥350, asparagus wrapped in pork ¥250, chicken tsukune stuffed eggplant ¥250, and the Japanese black wagyu beef ¥490. The wagyu beef is simply amazing. It's a bit pricey but a must try. It is made from the highest quality (grade A5) beef available and will melt in your mouth.

There is a lot more to this excellent restaurant than the skewers.  You must try one of their wonderful salads. The Maido salad ¥780 is always a good option, but the others are very creative and likely different from the salads you've had before. Soups are also available and all are homemade from scratch. Here you might try the duck tsukune with grilled leak ¥450. Tsukune is much like a meatball. Don't forget dessert. He makes a variety of sorbets that vary with the season. His blog explains how to he makes them in good detail, so I've learned his secrets and have duplicated some of his sorbets at home. 

If you're a wine connoisseur, Maido has quite a collection. The prices go from reasonable to bottles that are in the ¥40,000-¥50,000 range.

They have a great English menu complete with pictures.

Maido Kushiyaki and Wine can be reached from Tokyo or Yokohama easily on the Keikyu Line heading towards Yokosuka. Once you get off the train at Kanazawa Bunko, go out the east exit of the station. Then you'll walk south through a wonderful little shopping street on your way to the restaurant. It's a 5-10 minute walk from the station. They are closed on Mondays.

Richard Kirchner

Richard Kirchner @richard.kirchner

I'm an American living in Yokosuka Japan. Getting around independently in Japan and having access to the same food and menu options that the Japanese people do has been a goal of mine. So since arriving in Japan nearly four years ago I've been visiting restaurants, translating menus, and learning...