Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kaminariya Yakitori Dining - Tustin

If you asked me what kind of cuisine I could eat every day and never grow tired of, it would be Japanese.

To test this theory, we set out to do just that. For almost an entire week, we'd make it a point to eat only Japanese food for dinner. Every night we went out to our favorite haunts, of which there are many. But we also took the opportunity to try out some new restaurants in our area we hadn't tried before.

One night, it was Okinawan at Habuya in Tustin, where we feasted on sashimi salad with Okinawan sea grapes and followed it with the bittersweet charms of goya chanpuru. The next night it was Café Hiro in Cypress for our usual: uni spaghetti and sautéed chicken. The next few evenings, it was sushi--lots and lots of sushi--including DelSushi’s (which was good) and Niko Niko’s (which was bad).

But the one standout of our experiment, at least to me, was Kaminariya Yakitori Dining in Tustin--a newish Tustin izakaya with a very good Happy Hour deal: $1.50 per stick on three selected kushiyaki of the day and $2 to $3 on other small dishes meant for sharing.

We ate some brisk, lightly brined, "smashed" cucumbers that had hints of nuttiness from sesame oil. There was calamari, deep-fried until the porous cover of batter and rings of squid beneath crunched like pork rinds. The soba we ate wasn't part of the Happy Hour, but it came chilled and served with a light soy-based dipping sauce in which to submerge and then slurp the noodles.

The best of the lot, of course, were the kushiyaki, particularly the chicken meatball--firm and meaty orbs of what amounts to a BBQ'd burger made of chicken, on a stick. And it didn't occur to me until I had it here that chicken skin, when wrapped around cloves of garlic and then roasted over coals, does a great impression of bacon.

So did we get bored of eating Japanese food all week? Not even a little bit. In fact, if all Japanese restaurants offered Happy Hours like Kaminariya, I'd be there every day without even thinking about...and I might just be able to afford it too.

Kaminariya Yakitori Dining
14071 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 544-1169

Shwack Cantina - San Clemente


At 12:14 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

We love their HH. We normally go to Honda-ya/Kappo/Shin Sen Gumi, but when we don't want to wait, we go to Kaminariya. Surprisingly, we the sushi is pretty good too. We had the salmon roe, and dare I say it, but better than I've had at some pricey sushi joints.

At 5:38 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Totally agree with you Nancy! This is a worthy alternative to Honda Ya/Kappo Honda/Shin-Sen-Gumi!

I need to try the sushi now!


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