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Eat more chicken…

Nankotsu (Breast Cartilage)

…and more chicken parts.

Miss T and I had been wanting to try out Ippuku, a new izakaya in Berkeley, ever since we saw the construction signs go up for it. Earlier this month we had a chance to try it out.

An izakaya is a Japanese eatery akin to a pub or tapas bar. As such, Ippuku doesn’t have a sushi bar and doesn’t serve teriyaki. What they do serve is dozens of shochu and sake and just about every edible part of a chicken.

What we tried, from worst (in my opinion) to best:

Nankotsu (Breast Cartilage). Pictured up above. Grilled skewers of chicken breast cartilage served with spices and lemon. Despite knowing that the cartilage was the main part of this appetizer I just couldn’t bring myself to crunch up and swallow any of the vaguely triangular pieces of connective tissue. I ended up eating what little meat there was available and unceremoniously disposed of the cartilage. Miss T, on the other hand, liked it. Next time, she gets the whole order.

Bonjiri (Tail)

Bonjiri (Tail). Grilled skewers of chicken tails (butts) served with spices and lemon. Some folks love the “pope’s nose” and prize it as the best part of the chicken. I do not. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I would have liked them a bit more on the crispy side.

Bacon-wrapped mochi

Bacon-wrapped Mochi. Grilled skewers of mochi wrapped with bacon. I’m not typically a fan of mochi—too chewy—but I’m definitely a fan of this. Must be the bacon. Miss T is a mochi fan, though, so she gave this higher marks.

Jidori Gyoza

Jidori Gyoza. Chicken gyoza dressed with scallions and chili oil. Outside: Crunchy on the bottom and chewy on the sides. Inside: Moist, well-seasoned chicken filling. With the scallions and chili oil drizzled on top, these gyoza were delicious.

Kawa (Skin)

Kawa (Skin). Grilled skewers of chicken skin served with spices and lemon. Each skewer is adorned with folded ribbons of luxuriously fatty chicken skin. The exposed edges get smoky-crunchy and the folded inner portions remain silky and chewy. Totally delicious and probably really bad for your circulatory system.

Tori Yukke (Raw Chicken)

Tori Yukke (Raw Chicken). Chopped raw chicken tossed with spices and radish sprouts, topped with raw quail egg, sesame, and scallions. My favorite of the evening. I was surprised—not that I liked it, but how much I liked it. Mixed with radish sprouts and scallions, the dish has a slight spiciness to it, but the overwhelming flavor of it is chicken. Really fresh, really good chicken. Excellent.

Kitchen and counter

Overall, Miss T and I enjoyed Ippuku and will drop in again sometime to try some of their other unique dishes. The prices are on the high side, though, so our next visit will have to be after payday or the next time I hit a lottery jackpot.

More pics at maxpixpix on Picasa.

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