If there is one detail you can count on Hina Yakitori to do ideal, it is chicken. In pre-COVID times, the cozy Divisadero Street spot produced a identify for alone serving the region’s only omakase-fashion yakitori feast — each individual slice of the chicken specifically butchered and then grilled in excess of white-scorching binchotan charcoal just so.
Now, Hina is including a unique form of chicken experience to the San Francisco takeout scene: a Japanese twist on a Nashville warm chicken sandwich. It is obtained the similar crunch and melt away you get when you make fried hen in the Nashville model, but with a distinctive kick that comes from the Japanese spice mix known as shichimi togarashi.
Yakitori learn while he may perhaps be, chef Tommy Cleary swears it’s the most delightful factor on the menu. “I do not usually sit there and crave my possess foodstuff,” he states. “But I consume this.”
Cleary’s foray into fried rooster began a pair of months into the pandemic, when it became clear that the restaurant was going to be undertaking takeout for the prolonged haul. At that place, the Bay Place was previously at least two years into its Nashville very hot chicken obsession, but Cleary hadn’t found any person come at that type — which entails tossing the rooster in oil and spices just after it has been fried — with a Japanese flavor profile. So was born Yagenbori very hot rooster — named, Cleary describes, just after the shop credited with inventing shichimi togarashi in the early 1600s, in a great deal the exact way that the title “Nashville warm chicken” factors to a unique put and heritage.
The recipe Cleary arrived up with was a type of cross involving Japanese karaage and Nashville warm chicken — or, as he places it, “It’s a blend of all of the fried chickens that you enjoy.” Like karaage, chunks of boneless hen thighs get marinated in soy sauce and ginger, but they’re also dredged in a proprietary blend of flours to get the crunch of fantastic Southern-style fried hen. Then the chicken is double-fried, like Korean fried rooster, ahead of it gets its last Nashville-model sizzling oil dunk.
The other twist, of program, is that as a substitute of the hundreds of cayenne that generally go into Nashville incredibly hot chicken, Cleary takes advantage of a tailor made mix shichimi togarashi, designed up of 7 components, as is traditional, if not automatically the identical 7 you’ll obtain in professional mixes: ground red chiles, black and white sesame seeds, sansho, nori, sea salt, and dried yuzu peel. The final result is a sauce that isn’t pretty as painfully spicy and has a minimal bit far more of a tang.
Hina has been offering its Yogenbori scorching chicken due to the fact early June, but Cleary states it however hasn’t truly caught on — in substantial component, he believes, due to the fact buyers think of Hina as a yakitori cafe, so they have a tendency to stick with the yakitori bento bins that it’s been promoting for takeout. But Cleary states the fried hen is what he would order if he were being acquiring takeout at his cafe — even over the yakitori, he claims: “I’d be inclined to problem anybody’s fried hen with this.”
And so, the sandwiches are the up coming move in getting that fried rooster out into the world. At $11 a pop, they attribute an full boneless rooster thigh fried in the “Yagenbori” fashion, a pile of cabbage slaw, yuzu kosho aioli, and three “strategically placed” pickles, all piled on an Acme burger bun. For these who like a very little additional warmth, there’s a saucier model that comes slathered with Hina’s housemade yuzu scorching sauce, as very well.
For now, the sizzling hen sandwiches are nevertheless a little bit of a magic formula menu item, offered in confined quantities through lunch and supper each individual day. The restaurant has promoted the sandwich a very little little bit on Instagram, but held off on listing it on any of the shipping and delivery apps other than Bbot — for panic that they’d get a lot more orders than they could deal with, Cleary says. But if it really can take off, that could possibly signify the restaurant is receiving enough small business for him to seek the services of another prepare dinner.
Further than that, Cleary is already pondering forward to submit-pandemic days, when Hina Yakitori can revert again to its initial tasting menu incarnation — at which issue he thinks a stand-alone Japanese fried chicken restaurant would be a hit. Just after all, Cleary claims, even though higher-close yakitori is continue to a little bit of a niche product in much of the U.S., fried chicken is universal: “Everyone knows what that is.”