I'm lost again. Tokyo has to be one of the most challenging places to get around - there are no street names here, just block numbers and buildings numbered in the order they were built. Quirky to say the least, and very frustrating when I'm trying to find a restaurant and about to go hypoglycaemic. At least I'm in good company as on numerous occasions I saw lots of Tokyoites just as hopelessly lost as me. Eventually, thanks to the iPhone's trusty map feature, we find our destination in the basement of what looks like an apartment building in the upscale Ginza area of Tokyo. The restaurant in question is Bird Land, and despite the strange name is one of the hottest tickets around at the moment. It is widely considered to be the gold standard of yakitori restaurants and just gained its first Michelin-star in the latest version of the Tokyo guide (although it can be argued that Michelin stars are somewhat redundant for Japanese food in Japan).
We arrived to a packed restaurant at around 7pm and with no reservation managed to get a couple of seats at the large u-shaped bar area, facing a large central grill where the main event was being prepared. I gather that Birdland only takes same-day reservations from noon and it's super popular, so we were quite lucky to be seated so quickly. Amazingly for Tokyo their website takes reservations online in English.
|Master Toshihiro Wada at the grill|
Other dishes which we didn't try included sunagimo (chicken gizzards), chicken hearts, skin, and pâté. We also witnessed some chefs grilling cubes of caciocavallo cheese so the outside melted slightly leaving the interior warm and gooey.
|Grilled shiitake mushrooms|
|Fresh tofu with olive oil and sage|
|Grilling cubes of Caciocavallo cheese|
Food: 9 / 10
Service: 8 / 10
Ambiance: 8 / 10
Tsukamoto Sozan Bld B1F