Tag Archives: Japanese skewers

PATIO LIT EATS: Funky Japanese tapas & beers in Little Portland

Just when you thought patio season was over, they pull you back in with a mini heatwave sending temperatures up to 24 degrees at the start of October, son! So, we’re hanging out in Little Portland, around Dundas and Ossington, where some of the most popular patios are already packed — but they still had several tables available at Bar Shozan, this funky little Japanese joint. You can get sushi and ramen here, but for 10 bucks a pop, they’ve also got some real-deal izakaya-style bar food…dude, this is body by izakaya-style bar food!!!!

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These shrimp ‘n corn skewers are coming in hot, bro! These seafood lollipops in Flavourtown pop with nice bites of shrimp and little kernels of corn. Pretty sure I could slam, like, 10 of these…I just need to wait for them to cool down first!!!!

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Speaking of skewers, this pork belly yakiton is too legit to quit! Pork is fork-tender, with a nice, tangy miso sauce and one green onion for that serving of veggies. This was probably my favourite dish, right here…

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Now, when I saw they had wings on the menu, I couldn’t NOT order them, bro! These Tebasaki wings were nice ‘n crispy, a little sweet, with just a bit of a kick at the end. Oh, and there was enough green onions on this plate to feed Booker T and the MGs!!!!

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Now, this place is serving up all three main Japanese beers — Sapporo, Asahi AND Kirin — as well as five different beers from Far Yeast Brewing, including a couple I’ve never even seen before. But I stayed in Toronto with an Otsukaresama from our local Japanese-influences craft brewers at Godspeed. Despite its name, which apparently means something like “good job” (I speak the third most Japanese in the Triple B Posse, bro!), this is actually a German-style lager, with hops and malt straight outta Dortmund. And it goes great with some wings and pork skewers… Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto!!!!

Heading straight down to Japanese Skewertown!

Now, when it comes to Japanese, I’ve had my share of sushi, teriyaki, katsu and izakaya, but yakitori was new to me. So basically, it’s a charcoal-grilled shish kabob, and they grill ‘em all at Kintori Yakitori, this funky little joint on top of a ramen restaurant in Little Korea.

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Now, this place has just about every kind of meat you can imagine—pork belly, duck breast, beef tongue and whole squid, just to name a few. But whether it’s belly, cheek or chicken, they serve ‘em up the same way—no marinade, no seasoning, just straight to the grill, bro! The skewers cost a couple bucks a pop, and I could probably eat 23 of these…but I didn’t, cuz that would cost a pretty penny. But not everything at Kintori comes on a stick, though:

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Now, what’s better than a deep-fried chicken wing? A deep-fried chicken wing stuffed with a dim sum dumpling, son! This dish was super-crispy, chicken was tender, and then you get hit with pork dumpling smack dab in the middle! I dunno how they do it, but I could easily eat seven of these and still have room for dessert!

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They call this yaki onigiri, which is not as sweet as it sounds. They take a ball of rice, put some teriyaki plum stuff on the inside, and grill it until the bottom is burned. I guess it’s an acquired taste. Hey man, I’ll try anything once—as long as it’s not vegan—but gimme a nice, crispy, deep-fried Mars bar any day!