Yakitori Totto’s New Lunch Special is a Knock-Out Punch of Pork
Earlier this week, lunch’er Jill kindly tipped us off to a few new lunch items at Yakitori Totto (on 55th btw. B’way+8th). This fall line-up includes a Berkshire pork loin don ($10.50), eel don ($12), and a seafood mixed grill ($15), all of which unfortunately breach our self-imposed less-than-an-Alexander-Hamilton lunch rule. However, exceptions can be made on occasion, especially for a $10.50 serving of Berkshire pork and Yakitori Totto’s top notch food and service.
I fondly recall previous dinners at Yakitori Totto, which always consisted of indulgent amounts of yakitori, many many rounds of sake, and a boisterous dining room of patrons happily eating and drinking in excess. But at lunch time, there’s a hushed reverence in the dining room as the cooks manning the charcoal grills quietly ply their craft and solo diners wordlessly meditate over bowls of rice and skewers of meat. Despite the tranquil scene the service is efficient, and I noted that my lunch spanned a mere 30 minutes.
The Berkshire pork don includes a small green salad and miso soup, which arrived shortly after ordering. They are what they are – simple appetizers, prepared with the level of quality and freshness that one comes to expect from the Totto brand.
And then the Berkshire pork loin don arrives. In our crazy world of high tech cooking – induction ranges, sous vide, convection ovens, and the like, it’s easy to neglect the primitive technique of cooking meat over hot coals. This trio of skewers of thoroughly tender pork was grilled with finesse and glossed with a respectful amount of seasoning and oil. The skewers are striated with crunchy bits of onion, and just the right amount of flavorful pork fat. It’s simply a knockout punch of pork.
Accompanying my pork over rice was a barely poached egg, which is meant to be swirled into the rice. To borrow a quote from the always quotable Tony Bourdain, “I’m a total egg slut”, and this egg did much to enrich the sticky rice, which was lightly seasoned with scallions, Japanese pickles, and a micro chiffonade of nori. After a bit of augmentation with salt and chili powder, I gleefully supped on this simple, yet decadent bowl of bespoke rice, and found myself completely full.
$10.50 plus tax and tip was paid, and lunch was consummated by a complacently sipped cup of complementary hot tea. My 30 minutes of zen was up, and I emerged content and full into the blustery cold October afternoon.