Keyaki is a relatively new bar/restaurant owned by the same folks who opened Shiba, a small kushiyaki place in K-Town we happened to drop by with some other friends a couple of weeks before (which we liked). Both places served a similar menu with most of the items done on the grill and a very interesting drinks menu featuring some unusual selections of nihonshu and shochu (and beers)
As we have expected, a big section of the menu was dedicated to various chicken parts, from the thigh to neck and heart and liver and wings, but they also had a great selection of seafood and vegetables, some of which were also laid out in a tray near the kitchen for customers to see and choose from. The restaurant is one of the few in town featuring a real charcoal grill (it's hard to get a license for such set-up because of safety regulations) and they sure made good use of it, as most of the food items were made on the grill with excellent smoky flavors.
I loved the onigiri - grilled rice ball - at Shiba last time so I asked for a repeat to finish our meal with. It's skillfully cooked with the right balance of flavors from the shoyu glaze brushed outside and a firm texture inside. It was probably even better than the one we had last time because of the charcoal smoke present here.
While some other places may offer better food, or use more interesting ingredients, or more comfortable setting, but this is a cozy neighborhood joint with good vibe and excellent cooking at a very reasonable price point, something of a rare commodity in this part of town, and definitely somewhere we would love to come more often.
When? March 14 2015
Where? Keyaki, G/F, 14 Wo On Lane, Central
Menu Highlights? Grilled yellowtail collar
Drinks? Momokawa Nigorizake, Aomori Prefecture