Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yakitori 39 in Teaneck

at Nihonbashi Bonbori, a yakitori restaurant i...

A sign on the window offers "Japanese tapas," but we found that many of the skewered and grilled selections at Yakitori 39 in Teaneck actually were tidbits and would make great drinking food.

Three of us sampled 14 items last night, including soup, salad, one beer and soft drinks, and the bill before tax and tip came to $52. We pretty much liked everything and, given the low price per skewer, probably shouldn't have been surprised that what was described as "thigh" was actually bits of one thigh. The chicken used is free range. At $9, chicken and egg over rice is the highest-priced selection. (Photo above is from a Tokyo restaurant.)

The restaurant, formerly Bistro Zen, is plainly decorated, with tables in the front and along one side and the grill station behind glass on the other side. A soundtrack of Billie Holiday songs reminded me of the Japanese restaurant where I ate Tuesday night (see post, "A celebratory meal in the city").

We started with tasty smoked-duck, avocado and greens in a ginger-carrot dressing ($8), loved the house special Nagoya fried wings in a sweetish sauce ($6) and sampled marinated and charcoal-grilled yakitori of chicken skin, tail, gizzard, thigh and  thigh with scallion ($2 or $2.50). Then we tried two rice balls in seaweed sheets, one with bonito flakes, the other with pickles ($4), but found a lot of bland rice before we hit the fillings. Denied french fries, my son had a bowl of rice and added ketchup ($2).

Chicken-meatball soup ($4) was served last. Still hungry, we ordered a special described as two whole, fried jack fish with a little salad ($6), likely the best value of the night. We got two fish about the size of my palm, breaded and deep fried, and a plum dipping sauce. The fish were crunchy and moist.
Why 39? See the Web site: 

Yakitori 39, 252 Degraw Ave., Teaneck; 201-692-0700; opens at 5 p.m., closed Mondays.

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