Yokozuna is yummy Yakitori restaurant

Yokozuna’s kushimori plate is a good point to start.

Polls of the most famous foods in Japan almost all reflect Yakitori as one of the top three, but that just opens the questions about how many kinds there really are, and which is the absolute best.

There are plenty of Yakitori or Kushiyaki menus at Yakitori restaurants, and they extend well beyond the traditional chicken legs or breasts, to the more exotic: beef, hearts, tails, gizzards, necks, wings and more parts of animals that most people don’t know exist, and even less thought them to be edible.  Beyond that, most Yakitori houses also carry pork, vegetables, mushrooms, and quail eggs.

Yakitori Restaurant Yokozuna is a typical local no-frills joint, but delicious.

For purposes of comparisons, start with the Yokozuna Yakitori House in Ginowan’s Mashiki district.  Customers swear by it, insisting the food is very, very yummy.  There’s a lot on the menu, including Kushiage, which is food not grilled like typical Yakitori, but is fried after being coated in a batter.  Always options at a Yakitori restaurant like Yokozuna.  For those unfamiliar with Yakitori, or simply unsure of where to start on the menu, the recommendation is to ask for “Kushimori”.

Kushimori simply means a dish with a variety morsels on bamboo sticks chosen by the chef or staff at the restaurant.  No need to be confused; simply munch through the items on the plate.  There’s always the option of asking what’s included, or advising foods not to be served.  At Yokozuna, there are also set dinner courses available, or small dishes called “tsumami” in Japanese, and usually eaten as a accompaniment to beer or other alcoholic drinks.

Grilling yakitori takes skills when done right.

The owner of Yokozuna is Akihito Taira who has run his restaurant for almost four years now, after learning the tricks of the trade in similar places in Tokyo and Hyogo Prefecture. After returning to his home turn on Okinawa he started Yokozuna right away, and has never looked back. “My greatest pleasure is when a customer comments the food saying “oishi” meaning “yummy!,” Taira says, and explains “Yakitori looks like a very simple food, but is actually very difficult to master. That is another reason I enjoy grilling this food every day.”

Unlike many other places, Taira uses only ingredients grown in Japan.

Yokozuna is located at Mashiki in Ginowan, near the Ginowan Police Station.  Map: http://goo.gl/maps/lk1iU  It is open 5 p.m. ~ 1 a.m. daily with the last order at 11:45 p.m. To the delight of foreigner, whom Taira welcomes with pleasure as customers, there are menus with pictures of dishes available. For payment, Yokozuna accepts cash only in yen. And being a typical neighborhood joint, there is no parking lot as most customers come from walking distance.