Yakitori Kokko – San Mateo, CA

I was excited about trying Kokko for a long while but Meep & I are always too lazy to drive that far for dinner unless it was with friends. So it was perfect when Joyce visited~ She was staying in Palo Alto so it only a 20 minute drive~

Made reservations for 7.30 pm and was glad I did! We got seated right away and soon after there was a line just waiting for tables. A very tiny restaurant that maybe sits about 40 plus people.

Random blonde moment – took camera, made sure to charge the battery andplaced it in bag. Took it out to take photo of the building only to realise – I forgot to put my memory card back into its slot!!!! So thanks to our dining partner Joyce for letting me use her Iphone for pictures~

Menu consisted of the “specials”, a whole list of yakitoris, salads, small plates and rice/noodles dishes as well~

Not an overwhelming selection of alcohol but enough~

Dessert! Not a whole lot and I was surprised there was nothing green tea~

(the fuzzier ones were taken with my Samsung! Food pictures courtesy of Joyce)

We ordered a good amount of food, may seem a little much for 3 people but it was small bites so we nibbled while drinking at the end.

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2 Orders Salt Momo (Chicken thigh) @ $2.20 each

The chicken thighs were nicely salted and quite crispy from the grill with a nice char and charcoal flavour. It was a tad overcooked but still good.

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Salt Sunazuri (Chicken Gizzard) $2.20

One of my favourite things to order is chicken gizzard. This was nicely seasoned with good smoky flavour and crunchy on the outside. Delicious!

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2 Orders Momo Tare (Chicken thigh w sauce) @2.20 each

Pretty good. Nothing beats the simple salt flavoured ones but this was tasty~ There was not too much soy, so it still tasted just like smoky chicken. Grilled well with a nice char and very juicy.

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Spicy Miso Butabara (Pork Belly) $2.40

I was surprised at how mush I enjoyed this. The pork belly had nice crisped edges and the fatty layers were squirting flavourful smoky juices. The spicy miso sauce wasn’t too much – just a little glaze of saltiness and a hint of heat( which is the main reason why I normally just order salt flavoured yakitoris).

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Salt Gyutan (Beef tongue) $2.70

One of the dishes we started with, which is a great way to start. The tongue was not too thinly sliced and grilled to a nice medium rare. It had nice charcoal flavour from the grill and was very tender & juicy.

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Salt Tontoro (Pork Cheek) $3

Pretty good. It was simply seasoned with salt, which I felt was great because it was still porky, slightly fatty and smoky! Surprisingly tender but it is pork cheek!

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Wine Sauce Kamo (Duck Breast) $3

When I tried this, I wasn’t even sure what I was eating until I was told duck! The wine sauce totally overwhelmed the duck natural flavours. Juicy and cooked medium rare. Not as smoky as some of the other dishes but could be the dominating sauce.

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2 orders Kalbi (Beef) @ $3.20 each

It was surprising that I didn’t enjoy this as much as all the other meat. It was still tasty but a little tougher than I could have liked especially when I saw “kalbi”!

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Miso Gyutan (Beef tongue w sweet miso) $3

Instead of just grilled beef tongue, this was braised thoroughly and was literally falling apart the moment I put it in my mouth. There was also 2 weird almost spongy pieces which I was told were glands (??! what ever glands this is) – it was almost like tendon but more chewy and meaty.

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Salt Nankotu  (Chicken Cartilage) $3.50

Didn’t taste like anything but salt and a hint of smoke. Crunchy and just fun to eat~

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Uzura Bacon (Bacon Quail Egg) $2.40

Great hard boiled quail eggs wrapped in salty smoky bacon that is crisped at the edges from the grill. It was nice and salty with creamy egg yolk – best combination ever!

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Albacore Sashimi $8.95

The tuna slices were thick and seared very lightly. There was 6 nice slices of rare tuna, with very light drizzle of ponzu vinaigrette. I am not crazy about tuna but the other two diners really enjoyed the dish.

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2 Foie Gras Canape @ $3.80 each

We had two of this spoon size canapes. The foie gras was good but the garnishes (a mash potato, sweet relish and green onions) were the main flavours. It was creamy with nice crusty crostini.

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Oyako Don $8.95

Pretty good! The egg was nice and runny over white rice. The sauce was sweet and light and chicken chunks were really tender. It needed a bit more salt especially after all the salt yakitoris- this almost seemed bland.

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Lamb Chops $7

These were generous cuts (~2/3 of an inch), grilled to a perfect medium and smothered in a delicious sauce that tastes a lot like BBQ sauce but not as strong. I found the sauce a little overwhelming but it was still tasty.

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Extras:

2 Sapporos @ $4.95 each
Coke $2

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Overall Damage: $106 (Including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Pretty darn good)

This is now one of my favourite places for yakitori! I have to stop saying that because it was Sumika then a close second for Gaku but I have to say Sumika is in its own class but Kokko & Gaku each have their own specialty. My favourites were the lamb chops, duck breasts and pork belly!

The prices here are hard to beat! It is on average $1.50 to $2 cheaper each yakitori than all the other places. If it was closer to us, it will definitely be our frequent stops.

Great selection and service was pretty good. There were moments that we could not find someone to help us and took a couple reminders for us to get our drinks but they were packed~ Food consistently came in a nice stream.

For a yakitori place, their ventilation system kicks ass coz I did not leave smelling like grilled meats.

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Yakitori Kokko

509 2nd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401

(650) 401-7008
Kokko on Urbanspoon

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