Calling Bincho a yakitori joint is doing it a disservice. The term brings to mind casual izakayas serving all manner of (fairly cheap) food on sticks. At Bincho, on the other hand, the food is served not on sticks, but artfully sliced, plated and accompanied by the perfect condiments for each dish.
If, like us, you crave a full-on grilled meat experience, I would recommend passing on the omakase menus in favour of ordering from the a la carte menu. We had the omakase on our first visit and found it ok but not stellar. This time, on our second, we just went with a la carte orders and were completely blown away.
The neck was excellent. I expected actual bony portions of neck, but somehow they've managed to extract the tastiest fillet of meat from the neck - tender and juicy. Our first order was served with a simple ponzu sauce.
When we ordered a second helping, they recommended it Miyazaki-style. Those massive sky-high flames? Yes, they were for the charred Miyazaki necks. This version packed loads of flavour, but I think I preferred the cleanliness of the normal ponzu necks.
Not many places do chicken ass well; most of the time it's under-charred and therefore a bit icky, and the central cartilage isn't removed. Not so here. They were crispy nuggets of juicy fattiness, with all bones and cartilage removed. The hearts were also perfectly cooked, with a char yet still very tender.
The marinated thigh grilled with cedar wood had a lovely fragrance from the wood and the light dusting of lime zest, and went really well with the mushroom salt. We also ordered the cock's combs, which turned out to be like tender bits of gelatinous cartilage.
One of their new dishes is the unagi clay pot rice. They advise you to eat one helping with just the rice and unagi, and another helping almost as a porridge, with dashi broth, freshly grated wasabi and sesame seeds.
This was excellent. The eel was perfectly cooked - I dare say it was even better than the eel we had at the speciality eel restaurant we went to in Arashimaya. Adding the dashi turned it into the perfect comfort food to end the meal.
I couldn't resist ordering the uni pudding for dessert. It was a base of creme caramel topped with maple syrup, and a couple of lobes of uni. It was a bit strange to have uni for dessert but it actually worked very well.
This may be my new favourite splurge restaurant. Granted, it's not cheap (budget about $120 per person), but everything is executed perfectly. Try to get a counter seat, it's great watching the chefs work their magic right before their creations are placed before you.
The omakase is overrated. But if you go early and order the right things a la carte, you'll actually get amazing food and amazing service.