On my first trip to Tokyo in January 2008, my friend Justin took me to a yakitori restaurant in Roppongi Hills near his apartment that I absolutely loved. Neither of us knew the name of the restaurant and for the next 6 years as more izakayas opened in San Francisco, I would remember fondly the two times I ate there on that trip. No other yakitori came even close to the memory I had, not even Yakitori Totto in NYC.
When we were planning this trip to Tokyo, I was adamant that we go to this mythical restaurant. Armed with Google Maps and a general (but poor) sense of direction of where Justin’s apartment was (I knew it was near the Louis Vuitton store and the Hyatt), we found the street where the restaurant was located. And when we peered inside one particular restaurant, I recognized the sake bottles along the wall, as I had taken a picture of them many years ago. Yes, we had found it…and it’s name was Jomon! Or it might be Jou-mon…the restaurant’s little card says “Welcome to Joumon”, but the interwebs calls it Jomon.
However, when we tried to eat there, the host said “2 hours”, even though the restaurant looked half empty. Not having the ability to go beyond those two words, we left. It was our first night in Japan and we were hungry and jet-lagged, so we went to another yakitori restaurant that the concierge at our hotel recommended. We then had the concierge call and make a reservation at Jomon for the next evening. When she called, she was able to get the reservation, but said that we were only allowed to stay there for 2 hours. NOT a problem…we’re fast eaters. I wish I had known that’s what the host meant by “2 hours”. I could’ve eaten there the first night, too!
Jomon is a very small izakaya, dark and narrow. There’s a back room that I ate in many years ago, but I don’t really remember it. When you first enter the restaurant, you must take off your shoes. Then you’re seated at a table, at the bar, or in the window. They make the most of the space. We had bar seats right in front of the grill so we could watch all the action. We ate an incredible number of skewers, washed down with sochu and beer. It’s still my favorite yakitori restaurant in the world and it was just as good as I remembered.
Address: Japan, 〒106-0032 Tokyo, Minato, Roppongi, 5 Chome−9−17, 藤森ビル 1F