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What better way to mark the start of this new lunar year than with yakitori? It’s the Year of the Fire Rooster, so that calls for some good skewers — prime jidori chicken, of course, carefully prepared over proper charcoal. At Yakitori Imai that’s exactly what you get, in the most stylish of settings.

Grillmaster Takashi Imai’s self-named restaurant in Jingumae opened two months ago to minimal fanfare. But for those in the know it was one of the most keenly anticipated arrivals of late 2016. Until last summer, Imai ran an intimate one-man operation in Sendagi on the other side of the city. It was the sort of insider place that was renowned as much for how hard it was to book as for the quality of the chicken.

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