Welcome to Yakitori Ogawa. Listed in the Michenlin Bib Gourmand Tokyo guide. Meaning they serve exceptional high quality food at a price that mere mortals can afford. The menu is displayed at the front of the restaurant and is all in Japanese. Except for the word “Course” written in English. So go for the course and you wont be disappointed. Be forewarned though, there is a WTF moment on this course. So get your phone out and set Instagram to “stun!”.

We start the course off simply enough. Some seasonal nibbles and a small chicken salad. This place has an impressive wine list. Yakitori and wine go together like wine and more wine. They also have ice cold mugs of beer so no problems there. You small batch Japanese whiskey hounds will enjoy the highball menu as well.

Chicken Sashimi. Get your phone out. From left to right we have chicken heart, chicken thigh tataki and chicken breast. Completely raw. The heart is dipped in a bit of rock salt and eaten. Now, I do NOT consider myself an adventurous eater. This took some wine to accomplish. To my surprise though not only was it super tasty it was also much less off putting texture wise than expected. It was like a chicken marshmallow. The tataki is good with either salt or soy sauce and wasabi. Tataki means that just the outside has been braised and the inside is still raw. This was VERY good. The raw chicken breast was eaten with soy sauce and wasabi and was AMAZING! I don’t know all of the details but to serve this kind of chicken the restaurant needs to use specialty suppliers that are certified in handling this type of chicken. They didn’t just run round the butcher shop and pick it up.

After all the raw chicken excitement it was time for a delicately grilled eggplant break.

Followed by a perfect cube of chicken liver mousse with raisin bread to spread it on. Get more wine.

At this point the platter comes out and they start bringing in skewers fresh off the grill. On the left we have grilled chicken liver in a tare sauce with a chilly pepper seasoning. Again, not something I would normally choose but holy crap that sauce! It goes so well with the soft meat of the liver. In the middle we have my all time favorite skewer, Sasami Wasabi. It’s pieces of chicken fillet, salted and served with a dollop of wasabi. You’ll want more of these. That green thing…

10 years in Japan and I am still coming across vegetables I’ve never heard of. I love asking locals or restaurant staff “what’s this vegetable called?” only to have them google translate it and respond, matter of factly “Why, it’s Orange Daylily”. As if that would mean anything to me. So, here we have orange daylily, delicately grilled and arranged in descending order.

 

Next up a small salad appeared and the next round of grilled bits. This time it’s Shamo! It’s still chicken but in researching this article I learned something fun. Shamo is a breed of chicken originally from Thailand that was brought to Japan as a gamecock. That’s right, cockfighting. After hundreds of years of selective breeding the bird is now mostly ornamental (weird looking). Cockfighting isn’t the past time it used to be so the birds are a bit of a delicacy now. When eaten it yields a firmer, more oil rich cut of chicken. It’s delicious! That right there is the Cadillac of chicken nuggets.

Next up it was pickles and fried chicken wings. Michelin listed chicken wings. Decadent. These guys were big and meaty, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

 

Chawan Mushi time. This is a savory, steamed egg custard famous in Kyoto. Usually with seafood inside. It has been adapted to have chicken.

 

 

Our final course is tamago kake gohan. One of my favorites! I make this at home a lot. It is simply, white rice, an egg yolk and a specialty soy sauce. Just pour them on the rice and mix. Delicious! However, if that sounds like a stretch…

You can also choose the Soboro. Soboro is minced chicken typically seasoned with soy sauce or miso (miso in this case). It is served over rice and here they have topped it with scallions and an egg yolk. Once you’ve mixed the egg yolk in it just adds a wonderful creamy texture to everything. This is a sure fire crowd pleaser. It’s so good!

 

To end the evening we have 2 massive, sweet grapes. These are those grapes you might find a specialty fruit shape selling for hundreds of dollars a bunch. Prepare to never look at a grape the same way again. The grapes are incredibly sweet.

All of this clocks in at around 50 USD per person. Which is definitely on the middle high end for Tokyo but it is a meal that would cost you hundreds of dollars outside of the country.

So, what do you think? Would you eat raw chicken?

 

Nearby Stations: Yostuaya San Chome, Akebonobashi

Neary Attractions:
Yotsuya Fire Museum 
Shinjuku National Gardens
Yotsuya Children’s Toy Museum


I ate raw chicken meat!

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