The best yakitori is usually found in little izakayas spread out all over Tokyo but the most well known spot for this is under the railway tracks in the Yurakucho area, just slightly off Ginza.
It is a cold Sunday night in November when we pass through the little alleys of Yurakucho and the bright red lanterns of the izakayas are just too tempting. The street is quiet and free of the usual office crowds.
We spy an outdoor table and decide that this is the best place to have dinner. The locals are smarter than us though, as they are all indoors, insulated from the cold by these thick plastic sheets.
Beer cases stacked on top of each other make small but sturdy tables. We lose no time in ordering mugs of draft beer -- to ward off the evening chill.
There's an english menu, with a "welcome to Japan" message at that. While most of the items are chicken parts, there are pork and vegetables on the list as well.
We order mixed skewers of chicken skin (heavenly but oh so deadly), gizzard and a combination of white meat and leeks. The waiter asks us if we want yakitori shio, grilled with just salt or "tare" which is yakitori with sauce. For our first plate, we go with shio and it's a great idea. The meat is deliciously and perfectly seasoned -- the salt brings out the wonderful flavour of the chicken.
For the white meat, we decide on yakitori tare -- a bit of sauce makes the normally bland breast meat taste much better.
Tebasaki or chicken wings are my favourite. These were grilled to perfection -- plump, juicy and they just melted in the mouth.
Here we are with our friendly waiter who was so attentive and efficient all throughout. He spoke a bit of english and is a Vietnamese student working nights at this izakaya. We promised to look him up next time we find ourselves hungry for yakitori in Yurakucho.