Seeing that I'd spent so much time tracking the opening of Yakitori Koubou, I really don't know why it took me so long to visit the place. I finally got my act together, and along with FOY (Friend of Yoso) Candice paid Koubou a visit.
The place looks pretty big from the outside, but much like Tsuruhashi next door, the place is relatively small with a bar area, and a few tables near the East wall.
We decided to order a couple of items for comparison and a few other things that caught our fancy.
We started with an order of Torisenbei - basically chicken flavored chips/crackers.
These were surpringly low with regards to chicken flavor, and I felt were kind of oily.
Even though the Gyu-tan (Beef Tongue) seemed priced on the high side at almost four bucks a skewer..... we couldn't resist ordering them.
As I noted in previous posts, I like a thinner cut with a bit of charring around the edges. This was cut very thick, lacked flavor, and was on the tough side. I also found the flavor imparted from the Binchotan here to be a lot milder than at Yakyudori..... if you find Yakyudori's flavors to run too intense (which I do not) perhaps this will be more to your liking.
It would be crime if I didn't order the Kawa Ponzu - Chicken skin salad:
We started noticing something as this dish arrived...... the portion sizes seemed a bit larger than what I've grown accustomed to at Yakitori/Robatayaki places. The chicken skin was chopped into rather thick un-uniformed pieces, and not enough ponzu was used, making this dish pretty weak with regards to flavor.
The Buta-shiso was also a non-starter for us.
The Tsukune was not bad.
As Dennis noted, the chicken is ground coarser at Koubou, versus the mousse like texture of the Tsukune at Yakyudori, not necessarily a bad thing. The tare here is still very mild, and I think the exterior could have been grilled a bit more to add another dimension of texture to this.
After this, we moved on to a couple of different menu items.
Our favorite of the night by far was the Nankotsu Piri Karaage (Spice deep fried chicken cartilage):
These were fried right..... good crunch on crunch action here along with mild spice and a touch of saltiness. I usually like a cartilage chopped into pieces a bit more substantial than these. There were times I felt I was eating deep fried chicken gizzards..... Good beer food.
Candice had seen Tendon Stew on the specials board...... 'nuff said.
I had high hopes for the Tebakara.
These lacked the crispness I enjoy in these type of wings. When dipped and served right away, there's usually a good amount of crackle still there, but not in this case. The weak tare was also in display here...... it obviously needs a bit more time to ripen.
When eating at a Yakitori place, I usually end my meal with something substantial.... Chazuke, Natto Gohan, and the like. We decided to check out the Natto Omelet.
The omelet itself was a fairly hefty affair. The egg was nice and fluffy, but sorely in need of some additional flavor because the natto sure didn't do it. Sure, the filling was natto-slimy, but the wonderful flavor of the natto was almost non-existent.
Since Koubou just opened a few months ago, I think I'll give them a pass on this one. Along with the tare, the cooking techniques and flavoring seems a bit "raw", so I'll try them in a couple of months to see if things improve.
Yokohama Yakitori Koubou
3904 Convoy St.
San Diego, CA 92111