A Yakitori Shop in Tsutsujigaoka
We are foodies. Which means we love to eat. And we love to explore new places to eat. And Sendai provides us with ample options to do both. Many restaurants are serving up traditional Japanese dishes. If we decide we need a change, there are many options for great Italian, Spanish, and Indian/Nepalese food as well. But for the most part, we are happy to explore local dishes. One of our favorites is Yakitori or Japanese skewers. Come and join us as we visit a Yakitori shop in Tsutsujigaoka.
Japanese Eat More Than Just Fish
Many foreigners have the misconception that Japanese only eat fish, especially sushi. While sushi is undoubtedly less expensive and much better than in the US, it is still not exactly cheap. Living on sushi is, therefore, not good for your pocketbook, and it is not all that healthy to limit yourself to raw fish. Don’t get me wrong. We love sushi, and we’ll share some of our favorite sushi experiences with you.
Japanese love meat, and it is part of many Japanese dishes. You know about Kobe Beef. It is excellent and pricey! Up in Tohoku, both Miyagi and Yamagata Prefectures are well known for having the best beef in Japan. Pork is another favorite. Pork Katsu and pork belly in your Ramen are Japanese staples. But if you are looking for a cheap, tasty way to fill your stomach, nothing beats a visit to a Yakitori shop.
Yakitori is a Japanese Comfort Food
Yakitori, or Japanese skewers, are Japanese comfort food. The skewers are primarily meat, usually beef, pork, and chicken. But we did have frog Yakitori a while ago; it tasted quite a bit like chicken, but the spread-eagled frog was kind of cool! Yakitori shops also tend to use cheaper cuts, so don’t be surprised to find liver, chicken hearts and gizzards, and the like on the menu. Yakitori skewers can also be made with vegetables. Especially mushrooms and onions work very well.
There seems to be at least one Yakitori shop in every neighborhood in Sendai. They are easy to spot. Just follow your nose to the unmistakable smell of roasting meat. That is what we did one evening when our noses located not one, but three Yakitori shops on the same street!
A Tiny Yakitori Shop
The first Yakitori shop we tried was full. We were hungry, so we decided to head on to the next one. Just down the block, we found another Yakitori shop, and this one had room for us. But we had to be quick; we had to make room for a reservation in 45 minutes. No worries, we can eat fast!
This place was small, with most of the ground floor taken up by the grills and kitchen, surrounded by a counter. We would have loved to sit there and watch the action. No such luck; we were politely but firmly ushered to a small upstairs area. The menu was conveniently listed on the walls, which is pretty standard.
We ordered a variety of skewers. We started with mushroom and Shishito Peppers, followed by a variety of chicken skewers. Next, we enjoyed a fluffy Japanese style egg omelet. For dessert, I indulged in one of my favorites, Hokkaido potatoes with butter and spicy mayonnaise. Not exactly Yakitori, I know, but so yummy!
We did make our deadline; we were done eating and drinking in less than 45 minutes. Yakitori shops are not really for lingering after your meal unless you want to end up smelling like a roasted skewer yourself. As I said, Yakitori is comfort food, not your evening entertainment.
This little Yakitori shop was pretty typical. Nothing fancy, but great skewers, and cheap. I think the total bill came to around 2,000 Yen for the two of us. Not bad, but Coco did limit herself to the house shochu. Next time we come back, we will try for a seat at the counter. Watching the staff grill the skewers is part of the fun.
If you would like to join us for Yakitori or get a personal guide to Discover Sendai, please feel free to contact us for rates and availability.