The Best 5 Items on Beyond Yakitori’s New Sake-Happy Menu

Beyond Yakitori is consistently one of our favorite restaurants in Beijing. A modern but laidback atmosphere, friendly and helpful staff, and a menu that is fun, unafraid of experimentation, and most important of all, delicious, make it a safe bet for a date, business meal, or elongated sake session with friends.

The Topwin Center restaurant's new menu is especially geared towards that last point, promoting the age-old Japanese tradition of pairing alcohol with dinner by offering diners of two 20 percent off all skewers if they order a drink per person of 180ml of sake. Alternatively, groups of four can save a massive 50 percent on skewers if they order a 720ml bottle of sake to share.

Having tried out the many new weekend special dishes on the menu (as well as sampled our fair share of rice wine), we'd recommend ordering these items first, before gradually working your way through the rest – a dangerously easy task given that there wasn't a single dud in the lot.

1. Beef Tartar (RMB 58)
Shake your tastebuds alive with this combination of succulent beef tartar, egg yolk, thinly-sliced, fried garlic, and a squeeze of lime. A touch of Tobasco provides the meat additional deep notes that pair fantastically with the punchy barbecue sauce and kimchi dressing. Don't be surprised when the creamy yolk has you mopping the plate clean.

2. Beef Platter (RMB 80)
This special three-skewer beef platter is a trio of tongue, filet, and skirt, each perfectly tender and full of buttery goodness. Each is very well executed but it was the tongue that impressed most, each fatty cube of beef giving a firm but juicy bite and the smoky notes combining with the mild sprinkling of fried onions on top.

3. Sweet Shrimp Sashimi (RMB 85)
Carefully prise the head off of these sweetened raw shrimp before slowly dangling each, soybean sauce, grated daikon, fresh radish, caviar, and all into your mouth. The slightly slimy texture of the shrimp soon blends with the watery radish, gooey soybean paste, and ever-so-slightly salty caviar for a light but luxurious mouthful.

4. Sea Scotch Egg (RMB 38)
Inspired by their popular Beyond Scotch Egg, this new Sea Scotch Egg is a deep-fried ball of minced chicken meat wrapped around a diver-caught live scallop. Neatly presented sitting on the open scallop shell, the crunchy melding of breadcrumbs, chicken, and scallop comes with a dollop of mayonnaise for an added saltiness. These are good but we're not sure they usurp the Scotch egg.

5. Shiso Maki (RMB 18)
Finally, these shiso maki – well-seasoned chunks of chicken wrapped in shiso leaves – come topped with a squeezing of homemade plum sauce, making for a piquant combination and an easy fall-back yakitori to snack on as you circle through the menu or between warming shots of sake.

Photos: Tom Arnstein