One of S and my new “obsessions” is yakitori… Hinotez and Yokohama Yakitori Koubou are part of our regular rotations now (we love Yakyudori, too, but it gets quite crowded so we visit less often). So when we saw rave reviews of Yakitori Taisho, the newest sister restaurant of Yakyudori and Hinotez, we made plans for a visit.
Located in the Smart & Final strip mall on Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Yakitori Taisho wasn’t exactly in the nicest part of town. But it’s the food that matters to us.
After reading Kirk’s posts as well as the review by the guys at San Diego Food Net, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to order.
Tsukimi Tororo: grated nagaimo yam with quail egg [$5.5]
Mekabu Natto: mekabu seaweed and fermented soybeans with quail egg [$5.5]
Our friend A wanted the tororo – I tried it for the first time and quite liked it, although I still preferred the natto, which was a pungent, savory, and perfect way to start my meal.
One of the nice things that we discovered was that even though the menu says each order is two skewers, we could actually order 3 since we had 3 people.
Pork Belly (bara) [$2/ea], Chicken Gizzard (sunazuri)[$1.75/ea]
The pork belly was nice and fatty, with plenty of smoky flavor from the binchotan (well, everything did). It tasted quite similar to the version at Taisho’s sister restaurants. The gizzard had a nice “crunch” and “chew”.
Pork with Shiso (butashiso) [$2.5/ea], Chicken Thigh with Onion (torinegima) [$2.25/ea]
The butashiso here was outstanding – we all agreed that it’s the best butashiso we’ve had in SD so far. The pork was moist, tender, and flavorful, and the shiso was subtle but added a nice, noticeable layer. The chicken thigh with onions – instead of the usual green onions – was definitely interesting. I think I still prefer green onions, but the chicken itself was quite delicious.
Chicken Heart (hatsu) [$1.75/ea]
I was hoping to try the chicken vein, but alas they ran out. Chicken heart is one of S’s faves, so of course we had to try it. It was pretty good, although not super memorable.
Grilled Scallop (hotate yaki) [$7.50]
This was from their “Appetizer & Salad” section – scallops grilled over the binchotan charcoal. I LOVE that they give you the entirety of the scallop instead of just the inner part (I do not know what the technical term is…). It was smoky, tender, and had plenty of that “fresh seafood” flavor (which I don’t think S actually liked that much. He just likes the normal scallops. But I liked this a lot!).
Chicken Skin (kawa) [$2.4/ea]
Our last skewer of the evening was chicken skin. It was grilled perfectly, with the right amount of crunch. Even S, who doesn’t normally enjoy chicken skin, liked this.
Grilled Sliced Beef Tongue [$10]
Grilled sliced beef tongue was on the specials board that night, and after some deliberation we decided to try it out. I really enjoyed it!
Fried Chicken Cartilage [$6]
At this point, we were getting full, but I was craving something deep-fried, so we ordered the chicken cartilage off of the specials board. These were crispy and crunchy and satisfied my craving.
Nori Chazuke [$5.5]
Last but not least, rice with seaweed in a green tea broth. This was simple but a perfect way to end a delicious meal!
Overall, we really enjoyed our dinner at Yakitori Taisho. Many of the items were similar to Yakyudori or Hinotez, but some of them definitely stood out – such as the butashiso. Although its price point is slightly higher, I liked it so much here that I’m sure a revisit will be happening soon!
5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117