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Hina is one of a handful of serious yakitori restaurants in the East Bay, and it might be the best of the bunch. Almost certainly it is the most single-minded in its focus on every single part of the chicken and little else besides that. Chef Tommy Cleary, who apprenticed at one of Tokyo’s top yakitori spots, brings deft knifework and an attention to detail that set his chicken skewers apart — each thigh oyster cut in such a way that it winds up perfectly enrobed in crispy skin; each tsukune skewer formed to order while the meat is still raw so that you wind up with an exquisitely juicy, crisp-edged meatball. Just as notable are the non-yakitori dishes, many of which are themselves chicken-centric. Don’t miss the fried chicken topped with a chunky, egg salad-like tartar sauce. And save room for one of the stellar “finishing” rice dishes — the smoky, soupy oyako don, or the light-as-air tamakake gohan, an uncommonly beautiful version of the typical egg-over-rice Japanese breakfast dish.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Wed.-Thu. 5:45–9:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:45–10:30 p.m., Sun. 5:45–9 p.m.


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Price: $$-$$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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