Nakameguro is a chic area situated just two train stops south of Shibuya. With wonderful Italian dining and even American cuisine, it has a decidedly modern feel. It is no surprise then that Yakitori Akira, a unique take on an old Japanese tradition, can be found there. Yakitori (literally meaning grilled chicken) is considered a staple of Japanese cuisine. Restaurants can be found under train tracks, hidden in alleys or lined up in every food court all around Japan. Normally skewered, most Izakayas will carry at least a few yakitori items on the menu. But Yakitori Akira's chicken is no ordinary affair that can be found at the normal chain Izakaya.
The restaurant is located right next to the Nakameguro river and during the cherry blossom season it would be a safe location to name one of the most beautiful places in the world. The inside is spacious and loud with a large counter right in front of the kitchen. There is also an outside patio where guests can dine in the beauty of the cherry blossoms.
The chicken is not served on a skewer but is grilled on a portable charcoal pit called a shichirin that is brought to your table. For an all around experience it would be best to order the moriawase or the assortment plate. Akira serves pork loin as well as chicken. Their grilled dishes are very good but their most exceptional dishes are actually found off the charcoal grill.
The honezukemomosumibiyaki or charcoal grilled chicken breast is lavishly grilled over a fire pit in the kitchen for guests to watch. It has a distinctly black texture that isn't burnt but grilled to perfection. The chicken has a salty and flavorful taste and even comes with the bone-in leg. The spicy fried chicken wings are juicy and crisp, with just enough spice. My personal favorite is their fried torikawa or chicken skin, which has a flavor almost too good to be true. They fry the chicken skin like potato chips: big and crunchy. For their more daring customers, Akira also serves chicken sashimi.
Yakitori Akira is fairly easy to find. Once out of the main exit of Nakameguro station, cross the street and turn right at the river. Follow the river across the overpass, and enter the small path next to the river once down the stairs. Yakitori Akira will be found just at the end of the restaurant row.