There are plenty of reasons to mourn the closure of Tsukiji’s legendary wholesale market, and many more to bemoan its successor in Toyosu. Not least is the dearth of good, established restaurants out on that sterile landfill location.
So it is comforting at least to find Toridoki, in nearby Kachidoki, with its retro facade beaming out the reassurance of traditional values and no-frills wholesome nourishment to match.
Yakitori plays the main part in that equation. Seat yourself at the long counter by the entrance, where the grillmaster tends to the glowing charcoal and the skewers of chicken meat and vegetables being cooked carefully over it.
The house specialty is momo (thigh meat) and mune (breast) wrapped in its skin (ask for the Toridoki), while the tsukune — not the usual balls of minced chicken but cylindrical patties — are served with a whole raw egg yolk as a dip. This is far from being the ultimate yakitori, yet it’s satisfying, affordable and backed up with good sake and simple, seasonal side dishes.
At lunch, Toridoki morphs from its role as neighborhood izakaya tavern to offer hearty, good-value set meals. It also serves a parallel menu of udon noodles made in the chunky Sanuki style, which make for a satisfying close to your meal at dinner, too.
Lunch sets from ¥950, udon from ¥600, yakitori from ¥150; Japanese menu; little English spoken