After a long day of browsing vintage furniture and design shops in Nakameguro, a casual meal is in order. Kushiwakamaru, a popular yakitori restaurant near Naka-Meguro station is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy delicious grilled food. The atmosphere is informal and tables packed tightly, giving rise to a communal but fun ambiance. On a typical trip to Tokyo, time tends to be too valuable to repeat meals, but this restaurant was an exception.
Yakitori is the quintessential Japanese bar food. Bite-sized, affordable and great with beer or sake, it also lends itself well to solo or group eating given the à la carte nature. Here, almost every part of the chicken can be grilled and eaten, including organs such as liver and heart and the more unusual nankotsu (cartilage) or kawa (skin). For less adventurous eaters, the tender momo (thigh) and grilled chicken breast are available paired with various sauces including wasabi, basil, or ume (plum).
Aside from chicken, there is also seafood including salmon, eel, oysters or octopus, quail or duck, beef, pork, and bacon wrapped items including tomatoes. Grilled vegetables include various mushroom varieties and eggplant. Dishes to try for sure include the succulent tsukune (minced chicken meatball), tebasaki (chicken wings), the cheese stuffed green peppers, and the amazing jaga-imo or Hokkaido potato, a grilled salt crusted potato with a pat of butter that is as delicious as it is decadent. Pickled vegetables, side salads, and small rice dishes are also available. Everything is easily shared and the food comes out quickly. An English menu makes ordering much easier. The daily specials are only in Japanese, but the wait staff was very helpful in translating the menu. Prices are reasonable with chicken yakitori as low as 160 yen per stick. A filling meal may cost an affordable 3000 yen a person including beer.
Kushiwakamaru is located close to Naka-Meguro station on the Hibiya line. The restaurant takes same day reservations from 1 to 5 p.m. Lining up without a reservation may take more than an hour. The hours are from Monday to Friday 5:30 p.m. to midnight and on weekends 5 p.m. to midnight.