Late-night hours and yakitori (meat on a skewer) keep this East Village Japanese joint bustling.
Yakitori Taisho (lit. Grilled Chicken Admiral/General) is a very old style (around 1950s) and authentic-looking casual Japanese Izakaya restaurant in the East Village of Manhattan, New York. The owner of this restaurant also owns and operates Oh Taisho only a few steps away on the same street. They serve authentic and popular Japanese foods with affordable prices. Yakitori Taisho has been the second most popular Japanese restaurant in the East Village. (The most popular is Kenka Japanese izakaya restaurant nearby.) Since November 1, 2005, 1,514 reviews were posted.
(2) AMBIANCE / INTERIOR:
Yakitori Taisho reminds me of a quickly built lowend cheap Izakaya at the Ameyoko (アメ横, “American Yokocho” or “American Side Alley”) in the Ueno area of Tokyo, Japan, very shortly after the World War 2. People came back to the city and started building the small ghetto pubs by using the scraps there. It was where many US military troops of the occupying American GHQ (General Head Quarter, military base) hang around after their business hours. This restaurant’s sign by the entrance, written in both the Japanese and English, seems what people saw then.
Yakitori Taisho has a very long and skinny floor. There are bigger table only in the front area. The very skinny counter, where you can see how chefs cook your meal right in front of you is located in the front. (This is where I was told and demanded to sit by a Japanese waitress, despite my request of sitting at the table for two in the middle area here. But she insisted so, because there are only 12 people in this restaurant then and she did not want to travel to the back for serving foods for me. (7:15 PM, September 30, Sunday. only about 1/4 seats were occupied)
During its peak time, it is extremely difficult to navigate to the bathrooms (very tiny) in the back. They are right by the very messy area with the dirty piled up boxes and buckets. There is a small and unattractive party room at the very end.
The big picture of the Mount Fuji at the front is just OK.
The pinup Sapporo Draft Beer advertisement poster in the front is NOT from 1950s but from around mid 1970s. The Japanese model in the white one piece bathing suits, holding a beer mugs at Okinawa’s beach looks quite modest. You see the influence of Kaoru Yumi. (After the late 1970s, models with the big breasts with tiny bikini became the main stream pinup, thanks to Agnes Lum. LOL)
Yakiyori Taisho is very Tokyo style “decent” restaurant-like restaurant of “Majime” (seriousness or soberness). Nevertheless this establishment is NOT properly maintained clean at all whatsoever, sadly.
(WARNING: Unlike Yakitori Taisho, the adult rated sexual images are casually displayed even in the menu at Kenka Japanese restaurant nearby.)
I am a universe and a wonder. So, I dine the same, naturally. Yakitori Taisho does NOT serve any foods of wonders, oddities, curiosities, Chinmi (rare delicacy), or Getemono (freak), unfortunately (unlike Kenka). So, I dined their Teishoku (set meal), which comes a variety of foods as a set like a complete universe. I had the Saba Shio Teishoku (Salted Grilled Mackerel Set Meal). This is one of my favorite Japanese Teishoku. It included the Salted Grilled Mackerel, Fresh Vegetable Salad, Potato Salad, Takuan (vividly pickled Japanese Daikon radish), Miso soup, Spaghetti Napolitan, and a bowl of steamed white rice (Japanese round, sticky, and flavorful rice). The counter and each separate table are very tiny. So, using this type of traditional Japanese style food serving tray make sense for this meal. It seemed and tasted very authentic.
NOTE: Naporitan spaghetti:
Naporitan spaghetti, Naporitan or Napolitan (Japanese: ナポリタン) is a pasta dish, which is popular in Japan. The dish consists of spaghetti, tomato ketchup or a tomato-based sauce. (Its fancy versions may include the onion, button mushrooms, green peppers, sausage, bacon and Tabasco sauce.) Usually, the over cooked very soggy Italian spaghetti mixed with the ketchup is served. Naporitan was created by Shigetada Irie (入江茂忠), the general chef of the New Grand Hotel (Hotel New Grand) in Yokohama, Japan, when he was inspired by one of the military rations of GHQ, which was spaghetti mixed with tomato ketchup. You must eat this newly created Japanese pasta dish for fully appreciating what this establishment is all about (in addition to yakitori), in my humble opinion.
Their menu is full of colorful and playful illustrations and photos of their foods. See my photos of their menu.
Minimum. Only one Japanese waitress when I dined during the Sunday’s dinner time. If you are alone, even it is NOT busy, you are NOT even choose your own table for the convenience of the waitress. WTF. Not all the employees here are Japanese here.
I enjoy this spot 5 out of 5.
There are many other spots like this on St. Marks. However, I find this one to be the most comfortable. The seatings and space inside is tight but it doesn’t bother with the ventilation. I’ve been here about 5 times and each time I tend to other something different from their extensive menu. My top favorite items are definitely their yakitori, ramen, grilled rice balls and okonomiyaki.
When it comes to drink, you might as well start off with a pitcher (60oz) of Sapporo and the amount of yakitori you order can act as your side. Okonomiyaki can be your main entree and ramen can be your dessert. If you still need more drinks, a small Onigoroshi “Demon Slayer” is about 4/6 shots (more towards 4). You can also try their house sake ozeki if you are not sure what kind of sake to get. Getting hot sake during a cold winter day is very suiting.
I wish this place had more deals and specials.
I would recommend this place to my friends and come back for even more.
This restaurant is located in the same strip as Oh Taisho. They are the same owners but people claim Yakitori is better. I’ve never tried Oh Taisho, because both times I’ve wanted izakaya, this one was available and both visits have been some delicious izakaya. The place is a tight fit and snakes to the back with random tables and stools for chairs. The seating is cozy and could get overwhelming if the place is packed with diners. I pictured this is as authentic as it can get if you were to have izakaya in Japan (I’ve never been). They have an extensive menu and I’ve ordered different dishes each time. This last visit I ordered scallops with bacon, crispy and not as greasy as I thought, pork belly and beef skewers, all delicious. A unique dish is the carbonara paired with salmon. Since my trip back to Italy, I’ve been in this carbonara kick and appreciate this creative version of the pasta, a must try. The fried octopus ball I would skip because the chewy, soft texture of the octopus with the fried ball exterior didn’t compliment each other, but it was tasty. I would definitely come back here again and explore more dishes because I haven’t brush the surface of the menu in my 2 past visits.
Still goin’ on strong!
Still hole in that wall!
Still Yakitori Taisho!
I recently stopped by in like 12 yrs? and man I was so happy that they’re still serving up delicious skewers!
I had the wasabi octopus appetizer which kicked my tastebud’s ass immediately, and had Combo C which I feel have the best balance between meat and veggie. I didn’t want overly meat-oriented meal because skewers can make you feel greasy fast. I also ordered small green salad which helped cut that grease further, and was generous in portion. The shrimp, chicken, and mushroom were divine, and they serve variety of beer to wash it all down into Happy Belly. 🙂
Filling, tasty, and the neighborhood is poppin’ – easy 5 star!
hidden downstairs in nyc Japanese town. This place is good, kinda like a hole in the hole vibe. or someplace you go late at night after a wild night out or pregame.
Solid spot, the sticks were good, the steak was amazing and the noodles were banging.
Recommend trying this space out.
This hole in the wall reminded me so much of our time in Japan. A cute little place with actual Japanese employees.
We were enchanted by the smells walking in so we ordered a little bit of everything; salmon carpaccio, curry chicken wings, steak, and Yakitori of different meats. They offer everything from chicken gizzards to quail eggs to pork belly. Everything was so good and had the Smokey flavor of an open fire grill. We saw others eating ramen there but we were too full for that, although it looked delicious. Definitely a must try place!
Had dinner here on a Wednesday afternoon, got off the #6 train and got off at Astor Place, walked a block from the train station and you’re walking along this street lined with small restaurants!
We wanted to grab something flavorful, small plates of yummy deliciousness that will satisfy our craving but won’t leave us full to the brim.
We ordered the set A in the menu- it’s meats on the stick- pork belly, chicken meat, chicken skin(tell the waiter you want it crispy) , chicken gizzard and beef meatballs- 2 pcs each, all for $18.50+
We also ordered a small green salad $3.50, deep fried baby octupus for like $8+.
We didn’t order any liquor since it’s midweek but instead asks for hot green tea!
Love the place, the ambience- casual, comfortable and trendy!
Been to this place countless times. They open till after midnight. Perfect spot to sober and comfort your stomach after heavy drinking ;). This is not a fine dining Japanese restaurant, but I love it feels like eating in a food alley. The food is cheap and tasty. I’ve tried many, my favorites are: salmon carpaccio, roast duck, takoyaki, classic tonkotsu (better share this ramen with friends or you get filled up too soon for the next dish), BBQ meatballs and shrimps, Lamb chop…+ sake/beer. It’s a small place, so seats are very cramped. Expect slight service delay if sitting all the way in the back chamber. Bathrooms are super tiny but very clean. I’ve never tried the dessert menu but pictures seem attractive will give it a shot next visit.