Raw Chicken at Fuku
Fuku in Yoyogi-Uehara was a last-minute discovery I made before my escape from Tokyo.
It was a five-minute walk from my apartment and served yakitori in a style much trendier than Tori-ina. Tori-ina brings in the 40s and 50s crowd, whereas, Fuku is patronized by people in their 20s and 30s.
The exterior is unassuming - no windows, just an entry-way with a noren.
When you enter the space, it's small (but normal for Tokyo standards) - seating about 25 people with a glassed-off area where the yakitori chefs grill, serving as the centerpiece.
The selection at Fuku is wide, with the menu broken up into chicken, beef, homemade, seafood, vegetable and a la carte. It's crucial to cruise the specials menu as well, which humbly stands on the tables and counters in a stiff plastic display stand.
Prices are normal for Tokyo standards with most sticks (one order equals one stick) hovering at ¥250 (nearly $3.00).
Like almost everything in Japan, presentation is flawless. They can literally make Premium Crackers look gourmet.
Raw Chicken completes any decent yakitori place in Tokyo. At Fuku, the raw chicken or tori-wasa (¥600) is served in such an aesthetically pleasing way - sitting atop a shiso leaf with a sprout of ginger in the middle. Eating these raw pieces of chicken dabbed into shoyu and wasabi halts conversation. The wasabi on the plate reminds me of Japan's love for mountains.
Homemade Astu-age or Fried Tofu (¥280)
Smoked Cheese (¥350)
Tomato rolled in Bacon (¥250)
Neginiku or Leek and Leg Meat (¥250)
Asparagus rolled in Bacon (¥250)
Hinagawa or Skin (¥220)
Enokidake rolled in Bacon (¥250)
I would recommend this place for the atmosphere (lighting) and ease of ordering* (thanks to the menu that is clearly written in both Japanese and English). As for taste, I preferred Tori-ina's salt and simplicity.
But the best part is, you can get off at Yoyogi-uehara (Fuku) or Hatagaya (Tori-ina) station and try both within walking distance.
* Fuku is always busting. Time your visit so you visit on a weekday, after 9pm. They also take reservations.