The newish Tustin izakaya Kaminariya Yakitori Dining has a very good Happy Hour deal: $1.50 per stick on three selected yakitori of the day and $2 to $3 on other small dishes meant for sharing.
There was some brisk, lightly brined, “smashed” cucumbers that had hints of nuttiness from sesame oil. There was calamari, deep-fried until the porous cover of batter and rings of squid beneath crunched like pork rinds. But the best of the lot were the kushiyaki, particularly the chicken meatball—firm and meaty orbs of what amounts to a BBQ'd burger made of chicken, on a stick. And it didn't occur to me until I had it here that chicken skin, when wrapped around cloves of garlic and then roasted over coals, does a great impression of bacon.
While Honda-Ya still boasts hour-long waits mere blocks away, Kaminariya remains undiscovered, with barely a cult following. Maybe it's better that way. Otherwise, why would it continue offering these great Happy Hour deals?
Kaminariya Yakitori Dining, 14071 Newport Ave., Tustin, (714) 544-1169