In the world of proteins, chicken usually ranks well below beef and pork in the eyes and bellies of carnivores. Seen as the healthy but boring choice, a chicken entree is generally selected by those watching their cholesterol or budget, not the thrill-seeking food adventurers and hedonistic gourmands that read this blog. However one small restaurant in Little Tokyo is challenging this perception of chicken as an inferior meat.
Kokekokko is a traditional Japanese yakitori house. Appetizers aside, they serve basically one thing: skewers of exceptionally good charbroiled chicken. Every part of the bird is used. There are skewers of breasts, thighs, gizzards, livers, hearts, wings (my favorite!) and skin. Each are perfectly seasoned and grilled in the middle of the restaurant on top of special imported charcoal. There are also tasty skewers of tsukune (Japanese meatballs) and uzarago tamago (quail eggs). Even the vegetables (pictured above) are wrapped in thin pieces of chicken. I recommend sitting at the bustling bar surrounding the grill and ordering a five or ten skewer combo so you can try a bit of each.
While the food is phenomenal, don’t expect much in the way of service. Unless you’re a Kokekokko regular, chef Tomohiro Sakata, who presides over the culinary festivities, will not give you the time of day. He reserves his attention and special off-menu items for only his most loyal and sycophantic customers who are served their yakitori on personalized black plates instead of the generic white plates given to the rest of us. This blatant show of favoritism doesn’t seem to have hurt Sakahata’s business; the dinner-only restaurant is always packed.
Kokekokko is located at 203 S Central Ave, Los Angeles (Downtown, in Little Tokyo).