Recent Babson College graduates Jonny Hermijanto, Christophe Van Aerde and Hendy Lamothe opened BambooTori, a new, fast-casual, Japanese-style yakitori restaurant, last October. Yakitori, a popular dish in Asia, is made of chicken — usually all parts — or other meat grilled on skewers.
Described by Hermijanto as “yakitori for everyone,” BambooTori aims to offer affordable, high-quality dishes that are more familiar to American consumers while still maintaining aspects of traditional yakitori cuisine.
Van Aerde stated that BambooTori is similar to restaurants like Chipotle, offering healthy, all-natural dishes at a fast-food pace. But BambooTori is one of the few fast Japanese grill restaurants in the country.
“[BambooTori] is a fast-casual yakitori place that’s in between the high-end version and … the fast-food version,” Van Aerde said.
He also said to expedite the process of yakitori cooking while maintaining quality, the skewers are cooked as they rotate on a high-tech machine — the only of its kind in the United States. As the owners are businessmen, not chefs, they enlisted the help of two-time “Chopped” contestant Marc Bynum for several recipes.
BambooTori offers a variety of skewer options, including chicken thigh with scallions ($1.50), pork belly ($1.50) and eggplant ($1.50), as well as their popular asparagus and bacon ($2) and three types of meatballs — chicken, pork and beef — made with ginger and scallion ($1.75). Diners can also create their own meal, starting with organic white or brown rice or salad, a choice of four skewers, and for $1 to $2.50 more, an extra skewer, steamed buns, miso soup or dessert. Nothing is fried, and the meat for meatballs is ground fresh daily. The skewers are made-to-order with all-natural meats and vegetables.
BambooTori recently began offering daily specials with the purchase of a meal — for example, on Thirsty Thursday diners can get a free can of soda and on T.G.I. Friday, a free dessert. For dessert, they offer BambooTori snowballs made from rice pudding with sliced oranges and a caramel glaze ($3).
Aside from offering these specials, BambooTori caters and has done so for clubs including the Chinese Student Association, Hong Kong Student Association and NYU Club Anime.
“BambooTori is a great, friendly yakitori place that’s perfect for a college student on a budget,” CAS freshman Hannah Weinstock said.
Located south of Union Square at 106 University Place, BambooTori is bound to become a favorite spot for students hoping for a quick bite to eat without breaking the bank.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 17 print edition. Caitlin Schnack is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]