Yakitori translates to grilled bird, but that was not my initial impression of it. I didn’t realize that traditionally yakitori was specifically only chicken. It appears in actuality that I have been ordering kushiyaki (correct me if I’m wrong, I would like to learn more) from Daruma in Nolita.
Daruma serves what I think of as Japanese style of street or bar food, but not exclusively chicken. You can see my latest order above. This is two skewers of Shu Mai, one of Geso Squid Balls, and a Rice Stick. I have eaten here several times now, and I think I have my order down…these three are definitly my favorites. If nothing else try the rice stick. I never knew that rice could be so delicious!
I have been fairly experimental and have tried the astuage tofu, fried fish balls, and the rosemary grilled squid leg appetizer. Most of the skewers are grilled. All has been excellent and consistently delicious.
The interior of Daruma is very small with only three or four tables in the back, and a very long bar with lots of stools. There is a huge picture of people eating their delicious skewers going down one wall of this small restaurant, and keeping in the tradition of bizzare photos, the ceiling of the bathroom is a picture of a bunch of people making discusted faces at you (it is actually really hilarious).
Daruma is an excellent introduction to yakitori (or kushiyaki which ever it may be). They have things that people can try with out it being too crazy, and if you enjoy it you can venture in to something that is a little more out there (Squid Balls were a big step for me). While Daruma also makes sushi, I have yet to try it because I always want the delicious skewers. It is also extremely reasonably priced for the neighborhood ($2 a skewer).Daruma is located at 227 Mott St
(between Prince St & Spring St) (212) 219-9288