Zoning out in front of the TV is enjoyable and all, but the next time the munchies strike, pull yourself off the couch for some Japanese snack food and performance art at Yakitori Taisho.
The sleek, yet comfortable 14-seat Izakaya has one, unassuming server and two tables. In the middle of the 8-seat, L-shaped bar, the chef is on display as he meticulously tends to meat and vegetable skewers sizzling over his binchotan charcoal grill.
Hyper flavorful chicken parts are what Taisho cooks best: From divine fried tebasaki (wings), to the butterflied, grilled version, with otherworldly crispy skin and juicy meat that falls off the bone. Snappy gizzards are fun to munch in between gulps of icy beer; beef and pork belly skewers are equally delicious. Order a side of house sauce for 50 cents - it'll be worth its weight in gold.
Kick back with your beverage and watch in amazement as Dr. BBQ, err, chef, ritualistically prepares your meat, before serving it to you himself. Note the metal tray off to one side of the grill, and the pristine tools in it: Tongs to shift around charcoal for an even flame, a smaller pair for manipulating unruly meat, and a sharp pair of scissors to cut off even the smallest overly burnt bit. Attention to detail is an understatement; you'd have to be dead not to taste the love in these savory, smoky meat skewers. Rank Taisho's immersive dining experience high on your list of leisurely feasting to-dos. 5185 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego.
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