Tokyo Food Page
ššSouten (Minami-
guchi)/
Otsuka: Yakitori
₯5944-8105
€Data
Tokyo has no short-
age of good yakitori
shops, but Souten
really stands out
from the the crowd
thanks to the qual-
ity of both their
chicken and their
craft sake. The
entrance sports an
extra-large sugidama
(cedar ball) - al-
ways a promise of
good sake within -
and the list here
doesn't disappoint.
Nor does the food -
they serve only the
finest free-range
chicken and other
birds in season,
prepared by a master
of the grill.

The seasonal menu
changes every month,
and a recent early-
autumn meal started
off in high gear
with a very appetiz-
ing blue cheese and
chicken-liver pate
served with raisin
bread, and some
fairly assertive
smoked chicken.
Several game birds
were in season and
these were among the
highlights of the
evening - delicious
confit of tiny quail
legs; tender grilled
guinea fowl, and
skewers of slightly
fatty wild duck.

Sampling from the
regular, year-round
menu, we can recom-
mend the moist and
beautifully seasoned
tsukune (chicken
meatballs) - more
crunchy than average
thanks to an ample
helping of ground
cartilage in the
recipe. And our
chicken wings were
grilled perfectly -
they passed the
crispness test with-
out a hint of dry-
ness.

Almost everything
here is served shio-
style (salted) rath-
er than with sauce,
but one exception is
the liver - it's
prepared semi-raw,
and is extremely
tender, with a
sweetish sauce that
complements the
flavor. (There's
also raw chicken
sashimi on the menu.
)

Breaking up the
chicken courses were
some decent home-
made tofu and a
surprising and very
original chawan-
mushi (egg custard).
Besides the usual
chicken, shiitake
mushrooms and gingko
nuts in the chawan-
mushi, the chef also
uses mozzarella
cheese and tiny
tomatoes to good
effect - the flavors
work unexpectedly
well together.

Souten is just as
serious about their
sake as they are
about their birds -
they serve several
varieties of their
own custom-label
Kozaemon sake from
Gifu, plus another
two dozen well-se-
lected brands from
small breweries
around the country.
Also from Kozaemon
is a very drinkable
yuzushu, a
limoncello-like
citrus liqueur, made
with a base of jun-
maishu sake and
served on the rocks.
There's even special
sake-brewery water
served from big
isshobin bottles.

Budget around Y6000-
7000 for dinner with
drinks, and bring
cash; they don't
take credit cards.
There's no English
menu, but there are
a few set menus for
easier ordering.
It's a good idea to
call for reserva-
tions as there are
only fourteen seats
and they sometimes
host sake events
here. And print out
a map to bring along
- it's hard to find!
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rants

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Toshima-ku,
Minami-Otsuka 3-39-
13.  Open 5:30-
11pm. Closed
Mondays.
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