Yakitori means “grilled chicken” in Japanese, but Yakitori Glad also serves salads, beef, pork, kamameshi, and soups. Located in a small shop on Kapahulu, Yakitori Glad offers a unique dining experience of meat grilled on a stick.
I first heard about Yakitori Glad through someone’s photos on Instagram. After that, I looked them up and saw they were pretty close to where we live and that it was an extremely popular place to eat. After a failed attempt to get our extended family to eat there due to the restaurant being too busy, we finally made our way there last night. If you weren’t familiar with their pricing, everything on the menu is $3.90.
Yakitori Glad gives you the feel of an authentic Japanese yakitori restaurant. Keep in mind I have no idea what an authentic Japanese yakitori restaurant is like, having never eaten in one myself, but I got the impression that they were trying hard to go for that effect and it worked on me.
The meat is grilled behind a plexiglass wall where you can watch if desired. The entire staff greets you with a loud “IRRASHAIMASEN!”, which kids who love Monsters, Inc. may get a kick out of. The place has somewhere around 15 tables, which is probably why the wait is always so long if you don’t have a reservation and the temperature is a bit warm in the front, but much cooler in the rear.
Because they’re always so busy and tend to take in big groups of people with large orders, if you take too long to look at the menu, you could find yourself waiting 20 to 30 minutes for your first dishes to start coming out. I recommend you view their menu online and decide on your first wave of orders before you get there so that when you’re seated, you can give them an order right then and there.
The service is quite slow, even though they seem to have adequate staffing. My family had to constantly ask for water service and our food took a long time to get there. After they brought us the check, we waited so long that I ended up taking it up to the host, which I don’t think I was supposed to do but we wanted to get the kids home.
We ordered nine different dishes and found them to vary quite a bit in taste and portion size. The “Jumbo” momo gladyaki is served on the bigger bamboo skewers and is a great portion size for the $4 price. Compare that to the Mi Tare (barbeque chicken thigh) and you’ll wish you had just gotten a bunch of gladyaki plates. The Shio seasoning is delicious, as is the Tare (barbeque), so either is great in terms of taste.
The chicken patties are seriously small and I don’t think that dish is worth it, since the patties have some kind of bread filling mixed in. We wanted to try something new, so we got the chicken livers in tare sauce and discovered that we absolutely loathe chicken liver. We couldn’t even force ourselves to eat it, so we took it home.
I ordered a yaki onigiri because I’ve never had one before and it came with two piece of takuan and a bowl of soup. Pretty pricey for a grilled musubi and soup, but it was yummy and they don’t offer rice here so if you want a rice dish, this and the Omusubi is one of the few ways to get it.
From my visit, I’d recommend for people wanting to get the best portions for their money try the Momo Glad-Yaki (any sauce, though I didn’t try the spice version), Tori Karaage, and Tori Kushikatsu. The Tori Kushikatsu was basically chicken katsu on a stick with a sweet tonkatsu sauce and it was absolutely delicious! For taste, make sure you get the Mi-Tare and Gyu-kushi (beef). Everything else I haven’t tried myself yet.
Beer is the same $3.90 price for small, medium, and large, so really you might as well get the large.
Below you’ll find a photo gallery of some of the dishes we tried. We were starving when the Tsukune-tare and Gyu-kushi came, so that’s why I just have a lone photo of the last chicken patty!