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Torisee Takoyakushi: Kyoto yakitori shop a brazen ode to the bird

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Contributing Writer

A few years ago I was warned off torisashi (chicken sashimi) by a friend who, after eating it on a night out in Osaka, spent the following week in a very bad way. So when a dish containing thin slices of raw chicken breast arrived at our table I contemplated it with apprehension. However, I was warned that I would be missing out by not digging in. Peer pressure won out.

I’m glad it did: Torisee Takoyakushi specializes in chicken dishes, and the usu tsukuri is as delicious as it is different. Chicken is such a ubiquitous meat that it’s nice to savor it served in an unusual format: it is succulent and light, a worthy appetizer. The skin is blanched so there’s no need to worry about ill effects of eating the chicken raw.

Alongside the torisashi, the bulk of the restaurant’s menu is chicken-based yakitori and everything but the beak makes its way onto the menu. Everyone has their own yakitori favorites, from cartilage and heart to tenderloin and liver. Most are priced between ¥130 and ¥200 and come dressed in tare (the house sauce) or salt.

At Torisee, it’s important to venture beyond the well-trodden realm of yakitori. Order the chicken and white miso oden, a dainty little hot pot that comes packed with oden staples such as daikon and atsuage (thick fried tofu) and skewers of chicken.

Happily, despite the excellent food, Torisee is surprisingly easy on the wallet.

English menu; some English spoken