Frothy, ice-cold beer; festivals; yukata; cockroaches and bikini-clad pertness on crowded Enoshima beaches – the ingredients that make for a Japanese summer. I tend to associate yakitori with summer, too.
Thus engorged, I’ve recently been sating my summer appetites at Jiyugaoka’s Katoriya – a no nonsense proletarian yakitori-ya that’s been churning out lovingly charcoal-grilled morsels on skewers since 1963 – located just over the street from the surpisingly charming Bettako, just a minute or so from The north exit of the station.
@izakayasanpo assures me Katoriya was once much less attractive than is now the case. By all accounts it’s now a lot more hygienic than it used to be, too.
Not large, the simple vanilla counter is always – always – jam-packed. Usual form is to arrive and crowd around the edge of the room drinking and munching on eda-mame while waiting for a seat at the encounter to be vacated. Not recommended for large parties, generally, although we’ve managed to seat groups of 5-6 on occasion. Such rare occasions were thanks to the gracious attentions of the Mama of the house.
Dishes are simple. No surprises should be expected. As well as the yakitori and associated grilled veggies, a handful of offal-based abominations are available to those so inclined. Budget prices, jovial company and relentlessly strong shochu-based drinks make for an enjoyable dining experience. Focusing on the food alone, this is not a patch on Kushiwakamaru, but that shouldn’t deter you from visiting. It’s all good.
Cucumber with beans.
Grilled mushrooms to be dipped in VERY hot mustard or spicy sauce.
Katoriya-zuke – pig stomach in spicy miso sauce.
Chicken liver – a little dry, not nearly big enough.
Chicken sasami with wasabi paste.
Tomato wrapped in bacon – delicious but a pale shadow of Kushiwakamaru’s take on the dish.
Fried tofu topped with bonito flakes, accompanied by grated ginger and soy sauce.
Nankotsu – chicken cartilage, but actually not too bad.
Bacon wrapped asparagus (and the tomato-maki again).
Sliced tomato and mayonnaise – this place is not big on salads.
Grilled green peppers – unsullied but salt or pepper.
Garlic and mushrooms – nice.
Tebasaki – chicken wings.
Tofu – dull.
Get there early, secure a stool and enjoy.