Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Omakase at Tori Shin

Diana and I had enjoyed the yakitori at Las Vegas' Raku so much (which we still need to post about - sigh) that we decided to see if New York's yakitori scene was up to snuff.  The Upper West Side's Michelin-starred Tori Shin seemed to fit the bill.

The yakitori selection is small, and we decided to opt for the omakase since they promised these 'special skewers' that are not available on the regular menu, and we entrusted the chef with our meal.  

The problem with ordering omakase is that we pay less attention to what we are eating, and we do not really remember what we ate specifically.  But basically this is the gist you should know:

All the yakitori is chicken-related, insides and outsides, but definitely all chicken.  No seafood.  No pork.  Just a lot of freaking chicken...which is why it is hard to explain what we ate because it somewhat looks the same (minus the distinctive chicken meatballs) and generally tasted the same, from the house special sauce that reigned supreme on nearly everything.  The textures for the dishes were remarkable, with varying levels of fattiness, juiciness and tenderness that did invoke within me an especial appreciation for different cuts of chicken.

All in all we had three vegetables (bamboo shoot. tomatoes, asparagus), a palate cleanser of hand-shaved daikon, four chicken skewers (chicken meatball, thigh, breast and ___), a skewer of quail eggs, a chicken salad, a rice dish and a scoop of ice cream for $55.  Here are the pictures and the best I can remember.

Bamboo shoots with Japanese specially-imported salt that tasted like truffles. The salt was divine, as was the tender shoots.

Daikon palate cleanser.

Shiso-paste chicken breast.  Mouth-puckering flavor.

Chicken meatballs which were dense but juicy.

Fresh chicken salad with avocado, cucumber and an incredibly addictive ginger garlic sauce.  One of our favorite dishes of the night.
I do believe this was the special skewer.  It was quite tender, but otherwise not too special.
Hot, juicy tomatoes that popped in our mouths.
Quail eggs.  Cute in appearance, okay in execution.  (A bit dry.)

The special oyako don (+$5).  Loved squishing the fat, golden yolk and smushing it everywhere.  The grilled chicken chunks were fine, but the combination of raw egg yolk and seaweed is delicious.

The saboro don (ground chicken over rice).  Creamy and flavorful.
A chicken consomme that accompanied our rice dishes.  The cleanest, most flavorful chicken stock I've tasted to date. 
Shiso, Japanese sorbet.  Basically basil ice, simply clean and refreshing.  My other favorite thing of the night.
Green tea ice cream.  Solid (as it always is).

At the end of the day, was it too much chicken?  Probably.  Was it a good experience?  Every experience with Diana is good.  But if I came again, which wouldn't be too soon, I'd definitely recommend ordering off the menu  (we only received one 'special skewer,' so not totally worth it) and definitely finishing the meal with that basil ice.  Amazing.

Tori Shin
1193 1st Ave
New York, NY
Tori Shin on Urbanspoon

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