Chicken gizzard, fish liver, heart, and tail. You'll no longer cringe at those words once you try them in skewers fresh off a binchotan grill at Yakitori Kintori on the 2nd floor of Kinton Ramen on Bloor. This Japanese tapas bar is the newest addition to the Guu / Kinton / JaBistro family and, as indicated by its name 'yakitori', specializes in Japanese grilled skewered chicken.
Everything on the menu is under $9 with skewers priced between $1-2 each. They have virtually every part of the chicken you would want, or dare your friends to try. The menus offer meat, vegetable and tapas options as well as the specials for the day. The drink menu features sake in 8 different flavours, shochu, sangria, beer, and refreshing cocktails.
The yakitori are grilled over traditional binchotan charcoal from Japan, which is frequently used by yakitori cooks because it burns at a lower temperature for a longer period of time without emitting unpleasant odours. You can have your yakitori seasoned with either salt or tare sauce, which consists of mirin, sake, soy sauce and sugar.
I arrived here on a Friday evening to the welcoming sounds of "Irashaimasae!" from the staff. At this time, the restaurant surprisingly wasn't at full capacity yet, and to my delight, it was less noisy than a typical Izakaya joint. I could comfortably eat and carry on a conversation with my friend sitting right beside me without having to feel like I was losing my voice by the second.
As you'll find on their website, Yakitori Kintori takes online reservations for both table seating and kitchen counter seating. I had a reservation booked for kitchen counter seats particularly because I have this strange excitement of watching all the behind-the-scenes action. Funny enough, I was seated right beside the window where all the orders came out, so our dishes practically came out almost at once and kept us busy until the next order arrived.
The cost, which can reach well upwards of $60 a person with tax and tip, is not exactly a bargain especially for those with a big appetite. But the camaraderie over tapas and sake for a special occasion or unwinding after a long day at work is sure to make your stay worthwhile, and you might just leave an impression on your food-loving peers.