Tokyo Food Page
šFuku/
Yoyogi-Uehara:
Yakitori
¥3485-3234
¤Data
Fuku is a charming
little place that
follows traditional,
time-honored methods
for creating first-
rate yakitori. They
start with very
fresh top-quality
free-range chicken,
which is expertly
cut and placed on
skewers. These are
then grilled slowly
and thoroughly over
Japanese bincho
charcoal. The grill
itself is surrounded
by counter seating,
and though it puts
out a great deal of
smoke, a clear plex-
iglass hood directs
most all of the
smoke to the huge
ceiling mounted
exhaust fan. This
leaves just a whiff
of fragrant smoke
and sizzling aromas
to give the place a
tasty atmosphere.

While it may take as
long as 15 or 20
minutes to receive
your order, the
final result is
astonishing, partic-
ularly if you forego
the sweet soy "tare"
sauce in favor of
plain salt. Try a
simple "kashiwa" -
chunks of chicken
thigh meat on a
skewer. The chicken
is crispy yet succu-
lent, with a faint
smoky flavor and a
rich sweetness to
the flesh. This is
certainly chicken at
its simplest, and
likely its finest.

All popular cuts of
yakitori are repre-
sented on the menu,
along with a few
unusual items. One
example is "bonbon-
chi" - the fatty cut
near the tail of the
chicken - which is
more commonly known
as "bonchiri." This
takes quite a bit of
time to prepare, and
if you are lucky to
snag a counter seat
you can see the chef
turning the piece
over from time to
time. He moves it
alternately between
the hotter and cool-
er sections of the
grill, getting the
skin to sizzle nice-
ly as the fat gets
slowly cooked out.

The chicken wings
(tebasaki) are
cooked in the same
way, and these are
truly outstanding.
By the time they
arrive - two linked
by two skewers - all
external surfaces
are deeply crisp,
while the plump meat
inside is still
exquisitely tender.
Once you've gone
through the tempting
crunch of the skin
and the soft sweet
meat, the only thing
remaining will be
the bones, and per-
haps a tiny portion
of the tip of the
wing - everything
else is delightfully
edible.

There are also many
seemingly ordinary
food items which
turn out to be spe-
cial. One example is
the potato salad,
which is lighter and
uses less mayonnaise
than the normal
store-deli variety.
Another is the
smoked cheese -
small hunks of pro-
cessed cheese that
have been deeply
smoked at Fuku, then
warmed slightly on
the grill before
serving.

For all this qual-
ity, Fuku is sur-
prisingly inexpen-
sive, with most
grill items priced
at between 150 to
250 yen. Drinks are
also inexpensive - a
round of food with a
couple of drinks
will run about 2,500
to 3,000 yen per
person.

Fuku's menu is both
in English and Japa-
nese, and for some
reason the English
descriptions are
more detailed than
the Japanese.
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Shibuya-ku, Nishi-
hara 3-23-4.  Open
5:30-11:30pm. Closed
Wednesdays.
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