Tori Shin, NYC 5 (Select Counter)

December 19, 2017

On December 1, 2017, Linda and I had dinner at Tori Shin’s “Select Counter,” with its own grill and eight-seat counter curtained off near the entrance.

We were seated at the right end, where we could look into the kitchen with its two chefs.

The proposed ingredients for yakitori skewers were shown to us. (The wagyu beef, veal tongue or crab claw in the lower right were a choice of one of the three.)

Then he arranged skewers for us and the other diners at the counter,

We ordered a bottle of Manzairaku Hakusan. The sake list say that it “is characterized by its smooth and mellow flavor…” We found it to be overly mellow, without enough interest or flavor.

This was eventually followed by a bottle of Nanbubjin Sake.

The sake list says: “A very elegant aroma and fresh floral-like flavored Daiginjo sake from Iwate Prefecture.”  Very good. 

The starter was minced duck and turkey wrapped in a cabbage leaf on top of a thick slice of cooked daikon radish. Underneath was a white miso sauce, which we drank as a soup at the end. Very good start.

A pretty plate of small bite “seasonal appetizers”  followed. In the middle was a pickled daikon rosette.

Marinated fluke with oscetra caviar.

A cucumber round with fresh, crunchy salmon roe on top of daikon purée.
A piece of duck topped with Santa Barbara sea urchin, a surprisingly successful combination.

Grilled amberjack.
A chicken liver pâté topped with flavorful truffle slices.

A bowl of Grated daikon relish with quail egg, to cleanse the palate between skewers, was put and left on the counter.

The first yakitori skewer was Inner chicken thigh.


Chicken neck meat..

Cartilaginous and good.

Chicken tenderloin with fresh wasabi

This barely cooked breast meat did not have as much character as the other cuts. It was a good base for the delicious, freshly-grated wasabi root.

Chicken hearts with salt and pepper.

Meaty and a little chewy, but juicy and good.

Ginkgo nuts.


Grilled eggplant with dried bonito shaved over it.

The eggplant was lovely; the bonito was good with it, but subtle.

Chicken oyster wrapped in fat.

The oyster comes from the back of the chicken near the thigh. It is dark meat and is very juicy and tender. The fatty skin wrapped around it was nicely charred.

Chicken main artery

Well charred with a good distinct flavor.
Linda had declined the artery so she was served
chicken breast with plum sauce

A bit sweet.

Anago tempura

The salt-water eel was hot from its tempura frying. The mild flavor needed the dipping salt to spark it up.

Chawanmushi with salmon liver from Hokkaido.

Truffles were shaved over this traditional custard dish.

Kumamodo prefecture waygu beef. Potatoes and fresh wasabi.

The wagyu lived up to its reputation. It was nicely charred on the outside and rare in the middle. A few potato chunks added a counterpoint and the fresh wasabi livened things up. 

Chicken thigh and duck breast sausage with chicken egg.

The fatty duck meat wrapped around the ground chicken thigh meat gives an opportunity for a serious char. The egg for dipping adds to the richness,  

Oyako Don
Chicken thigh and rice with egg and a raw egg yolk with sliced nori and nitsuba leaf.

A traditional finish. 

Linda’s dessert was three crème brûlées: green tea, sesame and matcha.

My dessert was shiso leaf sorbet .

Tea finished things off.

We enjoyed a lovely evening at the counter. The chefs do a fine job of mixing other ingredients among the chicken part skewers. They have an excellent instinct for getting just the right char from the very hot Japanese charcoal. The pace is good. The meal seems like a lot of food, but the portions are small and only rich towards the end.

To see all our meals at Tori Shin click here.



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