By and large, restaurant bars are the most common redoubts for solo diners. And while sitting in a row tucking into plates of pasta or cramming your maw with the ocean’s finest inhabitants are fine times indeed, it’s a whole different experience getting Slow Food–cerebral with chicken. Yakitori joints pepper the city with brows both high and low, having their way with the barnyard’s humblest tenant. Tucked in the middle of an unassuming Upper East Side block, Tori Shin employs chicken whisperers who skewer a whopping 40 different combinations of fowl. Sit around the central U-shaped bar, where chef Atsushi Kono serves elaborate set menus rooted in Japanese kaiseki fashion, which anchor the evening in artist-formerly-known-as-Prince levels of poetic profundity.
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