yakitori boy

Yakitori Boy is a restaurant/bar and karaoke club that recently opened in Philly's Chinatown. Its the first Japanese establishment in this neighborhood and uniquely serves "Japas" - you guessed it: Japanese tapas. These type of joints are common in Japan and the after-work crowd relish in eating small dishes that perfectly complement the need to get drunk after a hectic workday. My brother-in-law took us to a joint near Tokyo and we found ourselves among the hectic salaryman crowd drinking and eating away their stress.

Upon entering Yakitori Boy, I found myself agreeing with a reviewer who commented that the decor was reminiscent of the movie "Lost in Translation". The interior is dimly lit with Japanese styled beamed structures framing the private booth area. The bar and tabled seating areas are ultramodern and minimal.

On to the food. I was encouraged to be served by a Japanese waitress and welcomed the complimentary edamame. The sushi was a little underwhelming - not so fresh or up to the standards of Morimoto or Genji. I enjoyed the okonomyaki - a pancake filled with shrimp, octopus, bonito flakes and various vegetables topped with sauce and mayonnaise. Lots of stuff going on in this dish - but its went perfectly with my Asahi. Their specialty Yakitori dish (photo above courtesy of philadining.com) features meatballs, gizzards, and beef on skewers. Gizzards were a little tough but the meatballs melted in your mouth. Lots of flavors and spices going on. Again...perfect to eat with beer. The portions are fairly generous and cheap.

The food is adequate if not mind-blowing but I came away seeing Yakitori Boy as more about the experience than the food. Chinatown needs a hip place to drink and lounge at and you'll enjoy getting tipsy and eating perfectly complementary "Japas". You almost expect Bill Murray to be sipping some Suntory in the corner or singing some Elvis Costello in the karaoke lounge upstairs.


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