Our oldest rugrat turned six today, and out of the blue, he requested that we all dine at Sumika for dinner. Yay! I love this Japanese yakitori place! It specializes in kushi-yaki, a type of cooking where bite-sized meat and vegetables are grilled over a charcoal grill. And not just any old charcoal, either: Sumika imports Binchō-tan charcoal from Japan, and this stuff is supposed to bring out the best flavors in grilled food because it doesn’t release smoke or other unpleasant flavors.

Sumika’s famous around these parts for its yakitori (grilled organic chicken skewers), and the restaurant skewers up all parts of the bird, including the neck, heart, liver, and skin. Everything is seasoned simply with fine-grain sea salt imported from the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and/or a freshly prepared marinade. It’s pretty easy to stay mostly Paleo here but it’s a good bet that there’s soy, sugar, and/or cornstarch in a bunch of the sauces.

Now, without further ado, let the food porn begin…

Unagi & shiitake bacon wrap: a terrine of tofu, unagi, and shitake mushrooms wrapped in bacon and drizzled with a teriyaki sauce:

Grilled chicken hearts:

Stewed beef gristle (yes, that’s what it’s called on the menu):

A platter of grilled meaty goodness – Kobe-style beef with onion apple sauce, chicken wings, pork cheeks, and bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms:

More yumminess. Skewers of chicken thigh, Angel shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms:

Chicken thigh skewer with spicy sauce:

Chicken breast with coconut sauce and almonds:

Chicken thigh with soy-balsamic glaze:

I’m so proud of our kindergartner for picking this place for his birthday dinner over some crappy spot like Olive Garden or Chili’s. However, my love for him is so deep that I’d actually step foot in one of those shitty chain restaurants if he requested it. Thank goodness he’s a little food snob in training!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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