31: Bonjiri Yakitori at Kokekokko.
If you're looking for a temple of fairness and equality, then Kokekokko might not be for you. It's no secret at this Little Tokyo yakitori-ya that chef Tomohiro Sakata plays favorites with regulars — certain chicken cuts, roasted over charcoal and sprinkled with coarse salt or brushed with thick tare sauce are unavailable for some customers, but suddenly in stock for VIPs.
This is might be a valid reason to dislike Kokekokko — that is, until you find yourself getting the special treatment yourself. One of the best off-menu items might be the bonjiri, a super tender piece of meat taken from the around the tailbone that is sometimes colloquially referred to as chicken butt. (Say what?) In each corner of your plate you'll find some traditional yakitori condiments: a smear of potent hot mustard, a paste of minced ginger and green onion, and two small piles of ground spices, one of Sichuan peppercorn, and one of red “seven-flavor” shichimi togarashi.
Once your skewer finishes sizzling on the charcoal grill, it will be presented in front of you, glistening and smoking, topped with a nest of sliced green onions (regulars prefer to sit at the long counter that wraps around the kitchen). The meat is smoky and sweet, dripping with juice and liquid fat, and marked with crispy bits of char. Our advice? Find a regular customer and go with them; heck, make them your new best friend. It pays to have connections in high, smoke-filled places.
Also, for more fun with yakitori: Best Yakitori in L.A..
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