Birdland – Ginza, Tokyo

My tour of Michelin starred eateries in the Ginza area continued on my third day in Tokyo.  Luckily for the wallet, it was the last day in Tokyo for me!

This time my friend and I went to Birdland, famous for Yakitori.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, but let’s see!

img_0466First things first though.  Finding Birdland.

You really have to look and see and know.  Here is the entrance.  No sign right?img_0458 Furthermore, you have to go down a flight of stairs.img_0457But at the bottom of the stairs, you have the signs!

I noticed an Australian family looking for this restaurant too.  They had no idea where it was.  Luckily for us, we were a bit early and found it first before heading back, thus we were able to guide them to the location.

The other thing you will notice is that it is located in the same place as Three Michelin Star Sukiyabashi Jiro, of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame.img_0455You make the left hand turn and there it is! img_0456The place has a U-shaped bar surrounding the grill and some larger tables in the back for those that want a table. img_0459You can order a la carte, or go for the omakase, which is what I decided to do.  And I went for the big one for more variety.

Now you can choose and tell them what you want.  For example, I don’t really enjoy chicken livers, so I told them I didn’t want the grilled chicken livers, but I was ok with the pate.  I also said I didn’t want chicken hearts.

And yes, their english is good.  They have one chef who is very fluent in English, the rest can communicate very well in english also.img_0460Off we went on our omakase.

First off was a selection of items.  These were different prepared vegetables and roots except for the lower left, which is vinegared chicken skin.  Interesting to say the least.img_0461Next was the Chicken Filet with an Apricot sauce.  You could also choose a basil sauce.  Some of you will see this and say the chicken is raw!  But, it’s safe to eat raw chicken as long as it’s handled correctly!

This had an interesting taste.  Not too dry, but also not well seasoned in my opinion.img_0468 Next was the pate.  They are supposed to be famous for this.img_0472Served with bread which you’re supposed to spread it on, I gave it a shot.  The taste was not too liver-y, so it was quite ok for me, someone who doesn’t quite enjoy liver at all. img_0473You look beyond and you can see the chefs hard at work, each doing their own thing. img_0470 Next was a grilled chicken breast meat with fresh wasabi.  Again, a little underseasoned to me, with the wasabi making the most of the taste.img_0474 Chicken thigh with green onions.  This one was flavorful.  I guess it’s the dark meat that does it.img_0476The third of eight brings us to the chicken back meat, with some small meat and the skin.  Now this was full of flavor due to the seasoning on the skin.  For sure this was awesome! img_0477Next was a homemade tofu.  It left us wondering if this was an appetizer of one of the 8 yakitori courses.  We weren’t sure.  Not my favorite honestly. img_0478 Next was grilled Gingko Nut.  This surprised me.  It was like potato, definitely different than boiled gingko.img_0479Chicken Oyster with lime.  I expected this to be awesome, but was let down.  It had zero flavor except when you added the lime. img_0480Next was a salad.  Again, part of the omakase or not? If so, this was 7, if not, then we’re up to 4 (not sure about the Gingko Nut either). img_0481Chicken Meatballs.  Flavorful, though a little dry. img_0482Here was the Terikyaki Thigh.  This had some good flavor. img_0483And some Shitake mushrooms.  One with a yakitori sauce and the other with teriyaki sauce. img_0484 And then thigh meat with Leeks. Nice!img_0485And then some grilled cheese.  This was definitely interesting to me. img_0486 Still working!  I was wondering what more was coming my way!img_0487But that was the end of the omakase.  So let’s count.

6 Chicken Yakitori.  Then there was Tofu, Salad, Gingko Nut and Mushroom.  I think the Gingko Nut and Mushroom counted to make up 8.  I felt a little ripped off to be honest with you.  Did they replace the liver and heart with Gingko Nut and Mushroom?  That isn’t right.  They should replace it with chicken.  Those around me also got no liver or heart, so I wasn’t sure what was correct or not.  And no one asked, and I didn’t either.

That being said, they asked if I wanted any more since it was the end of the omakase.  I was still hungry!  Not enough chicken for me!  So I went to the a la carte menu to see what I did not get.

I didn’t get at three that I saw, the Chicken Tail, Chicken Wing and Chicken Neck with Skin.  I decided to go for the Chicken Tail (which my neighbors got, they didn’t get the Chicken Backs though, which I got) and the Chicken Wing.

Here are the Chicken Tails.  Nice and Juicy.  Exactly what I expected in a Yakitori!  The parts of the chicken which maybe you don’t always get, seasoned beautifully and grilled.  This was it!

img_0491 And then the chicken wing.  This was nice too!img_0492After that, I decided to cap the meal and get some ramen later if I was still hungry.

To cap the meal, we got Oyako-don, Chicken and Egg on rice. Looks good man!img_0493It came with some pickles and a cup of chicken stock.  I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to pour some into the rice or drink it.  Those around me did both, Japanese and foreigners.  My Japanese colleague said do what you want. img_0494We got some Oolong tea to finish it off. img_0495 And a Creme Caramel, which was a strange choice here.img_0496I’m going to say this – it was well done.  But I am not understanding the popularity of this.  I’ve had nicer Yakitori in less expensive places.  I can’t recommend this place unless you want to go for the Michelin factor – I was guilty of that.

Go to a different Yakitori, that’s my suggestion.  This isn’t really worth it.

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