I was sold from the minute I saw the hearth. It was in the entryway of Kushikura, a slightly upscale yakitori (grilled meat on a stick) restaurant in a converted machiya house in central Kyoto. Since our dinner was reserved for 8pm on a wintry February evening, I was more than happy to sit and warm my extremities while the kimono-clad waitress prepped our table.
Kushikura’s dining space rambled on, across several rooms on the house’s ground floor and possibly upstairs, from the looks of things. Our waitress led us past a communal counter, a long slab of pine burnished to a shine, to a table in a tatami-floored room in the back of the house. There was a floodlit traditional garden next to our neighbor’s table, but we had an excellent view from our seats.
You can order yakitori sticks a la carte (average about $1-$2 per stick) but we sprang for the Miyako Course (¥2800). Our meal included a seasonal appetizer (warm tofu with miso and orange peel); chawanmushi (a type of warm egg custard) with chicken, corn and daikon (radish) foam; miso soup; rice; Kyoto’s delectable pickled vegetables; and six different optionstypes of yakitori. The kitchen got to decide but our waiter made sure to ask if there were any foods we either didn’t like or were allergic to.
For a yakitori dinner, it’s admittedly a tad pricey. But the quantity of food is more than generous, the staff was incredibly welcoming and helpful and the atmosphere of the old house was second to none. Come here for a cozy, romantic dinner in the middle of winter if you can; if you’re here in another season, come anyway. It’s worth it.
Location: Central Kyoto
Hours: Lunch (11:30-2:30pm, last order 2pm); Dinner (5pm-10:30pm, last order 9:45pm)
Contact: 075-213-2211 (reservations recommended for dinner)
Credit Cards Accepted?: yes
Their main website is only in Japanese so here is a link with more information.