Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TOTTO / 鳥人

Since my buddy Kayoko has done such a great job with recommending Perry Street, Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca and Grand Central Oyster we ended up asking her for one more recommendation for our last dinner out.

Her last recommendation: Yakitori Totto

After eating at Perilla, Perry Street, and Babbo, we really wanted something lighter and yakitori sounded perfect. We heard Totto seats no more than 30 people so we were a little worried about the wait since we didn't have any reservations. When we arrived a little after 9pm, all 10 bar seats were full, including the 20 other seats around this tiny 2nd floor joint. Luckily, we were the only ones waiting and were able to score some prime seating at the bar.

TOTTO / 鳥人

TOTTO / 鳥人

TOTTO / 鳥人
We ordered some appetizers but we were really eager to get our hands on all the yakitori. Totto has an extensive yakitori menu, but you have to get there early to snag their specialities like hiza nankotsu soft knee bone, seseri neck, bonchiri tail, and chicken oysters rare part of thigh aka sot l'y laisse.

TOTTO / 鳥人
Dylan and I were thrilled to get a some hiza nankotsu chicken knee bone. The meat and fat around the crunchy knee cartilage and bone was thrilling. LOVED it!

TOTTO / 鳥人
We also got a hold of some chicken oysters. They're not what you think. The chicken oysters at Totto are some sort of rare part of the thigh. Chicken oysters, aka sot l'y laisse, are two round dark pieces of meat near the thigh which is considered to be the most tender and flavorful part of a chicken. Hell yea. I can snack on these all day.

Totto's yakitori is amazing. Everything they touch is seasoned with Okinawan sea salt grilled to heavenly chicken perfection. It's really unbelievable what they can do with chicken parts here at Totto.

TOTTO / 鳥人
Negima thigh and scallions

TOTTO / 鳥人
Teba wings

TOTTO / 鳥人
Sunagimo gizzards

TOTTO / 鳥人
Kawa skin

TOTTO / 鳥人
Tsukune chicken meat ball

TOTTO / 鳥人
Uzura quail egg

TOTTO / 鳥人
Kuro buta negi pon organic pork with scallions and ponzu

TOTTO / 鳥人
Asparagus bacon

TOTTO / 鳥人
Kuruma ebi

TOTTO / 鳥人
Totto's Tokusei Yaki Onigiri grilled rice ball with cheese and brushed with soy sauce

TOTTO / 鳥人
The yaki onigiri with cheese is a must have. Gooey cheese and grilled rice...such an unbelievably perfect couple!

TOTTO / 鳥人

TOTTO / 鳥人
I don't think I've ever eaten a meal as beautifully orchestrated on a grill than at Totto. The quality of meat and the attention to the grill has taken this yakitori-ya to another level. It's serioulsy one of those meals that Dylan and I still dream about. All I have to say is "Totto" and Dylan will automatically snap his head back and moan, "Ohhhh man Totto."

Read about Ruhlman's visit to Totto. Totto was recommended to him by Chef Thomas Keller. Yes, it's that good.

TOTTO / 鳥人
251 W. 55th Street
(between 8th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10019
(212) 245-4555

14 comments:

burumun said...

Hi Oishii Eats,

I just reviewed Yakitori Totto myself like last week (http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/12/nyc-loving-chicken-parts-at-yakitori.html)
so was very excited to see your review!! I agree, Totto is uh-ma-zing!
I loved their seseri!

Food GPS said...

Those are some sensational photos. Any photography advice?

mattatouille said...

FoodGPS, I believe that's a 60mm or 85mm prime lens with fast aperture for a Canon 30-40D series? Just a guess... :)

Great bokeh! and wonderful photos. Flickr just got unblocked at my office (on my birthday of all days), so I can enjoy your supbert photography.

mattatouille said...

okay, i just looked at the "bag" and saw the 40D (nice camera, very nice camera) and the 50mm f1.4 and 17-85mm. I'm guessing those are the 50mm for the low aperture. OKay, i sound like a smarty pants.

Jeni said...

Burumun...omg...I love love love Totto. I really want to get there early next time to try the specialties.

Thanks Food GPS. Invest in a DSLR. Everything changed when we were able to shoot in raw...afterwards we can manipulate the tone and brightness which makes a hell of a difference.

Hey Mattatouille...lucky you. Flickr is still blocked at our work. We just got the 5d the other week...omg...LOOOOOVE IT! We haven't touch the 40d since. I love our 50mm 1.4, it's the perfect "dinner" lens.

mattatouille said...

ah! you just got the new 5D mkII? nice camera...i'm trying to get the D90 right now. Dang, the mkII or even the older one should result in some stunning photos. I was contemplating switching to Canon but I'm just a nikon guy at heart. If you're used to the 50mm you might need to get a new lens if you're using the 5d b/c no longer have the cropped sensor fomrat?

And btw, I've been telling FoodGPS to get a DSLR for a while now, but it's tough to make the first jump.

Jeni said...

No we didn't get the mkII. We got the older 5d body. The 50mm 1.4 still works with the 5d...but we don't get as good a bokeh as with the 40d.

Chubbypanda said...

I love yakitori. Total meat overload.

ila said...

Jeni,

beautiful photos! actually, i've never seen such a beautiful yakitori bar ever.
i've never heard bonchiri before, altho i've seen tail listed as bonjiri and bonbochi. i personally call it bonketsu cause it sounds funnier.

Mr. Gohan said...

I too, blogged about this place before so it was cool to see yours.

http://eatgohan.blogspot.com/2008/10/chicken-tail-anyone-yakitori-totto-new.html

I love the pictures. Every time I visit NY I make it point to eat here. I love the bonchiri! Next time I got to try the chicken oyster and the yaki onigiri with cheese.

mattatouille said...

interesting that the bokeh isn't as good on the 40d. The 5D is a great camera, nice choice.

Alice & Jared said...

thanks so much for stopping by our blog! we're drooling over all your pictures of totto. the food looks EXACTLY like the yakitori we had in kyoto a few years back... we seriously miss japan. we're heading to LA in late january, please send us your recommendations!!!

Alice & Jared said...

oops our blogger profile isn't set up correctly... we're at eataduckimust.blogspot.com

Max mickle said...

Very nice site. Organized and an eye-pleaser. Simple kitchen recipes esp. the chicken meat ball.i think that, i ll make it for my husband's birth.

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