When Pete Wells visited Tori Shin at its original Upper East Side location, the Times critic felt the restaurant generally was a miss, often walking the line between dull and delicious.
“I knew that some people revered the restaurant,” Wells writes. “So I just figured that it fell into one of my blind spots.” This kept Wells from revisiting Tori Shin after the restaurant moved in 2015 to its current home in Hell’s Kitchen, the same year Eater’s Ryan Sutton named Tori Shin “the city's best and most ambitious yakitori joint” in a three star review.
In his latest review, Wells notes how much he regrets delaying a revisit to Tori Shin:
When Torishin moved to its current address in Hell’s Kitchen in 2015, I did not exactly rush over on my hoverboard. In fact, I didn’t make it there until last fall, a delay I regretted as soon as I had unskewered my first lump of chicken. Whatever had been missing from the chicken before was there, and it’s been there each time I’ve gone back.
Later in the review, Wells remembers some of his favorites:
The grill cooks serve up a mix of vegetables (the mushrooms are a particular treat, and I don’t think it’s possible to grill zucchini better than Torishin does); white meat (the piece wrapped in a shiso leaf and dabbed with salty plum paste is a nearly perfect bite); dark meat (chicken legs can be subdivided in more ways than you might think); and curiosities called “special skewers.” This is where you will find the oysters, the kidneys, the nugget of meat from the base of the wing, the wrinkly and fatty neck skin, the smooth and supple belly skin.
Ultimately, Wells confirms Sutton’s claim that omakase is the only way to go at Tori Shin. Three stars.