Once, skewered food meant chicken, beef, or lamb—one burnt chunk of meat often indistinguishable from the next—cooked on a stick, and generally known as shish kebab, satay, yakitori, tikka, or, throughout the Midwest, a corn dog. Today’s skewer-happy chefs, though, are sticking it to all sorts of fancy foods, from gingko nuts to Kobe beef.
No one would ever accuse Gray Kunz of throwing a shrimp on the barbie, but he’s not above skewering three plump specimens on a strip of sugarcane, grilling them to perfection, and then gently plopping them down on a sumptuous bed of Kaffir-lime-and-curry-enhanced rémoulade.
10 Columbus Circle; 212-823-6338
Beyond yakitori and kushiyaki, kushiage takes Japanese skewer cuisine in another delicious direction by lightly breading the skewered stuff with panko and then deep-frying it. At newcomer Sachi’s, everything from okra to shrimp-stuffed shiitakes gets the kushiage treatment.
25 Clinton St.; 212-253-2900
This one sounds like one of those asleep-at-the-stove accidents that happily turn out to be a stroke of genius: red-miso-rubbed cubes of hamachi and foie gras, seared on skewers and served with diced grilled pineapple.
142 Mercer St.; 212-431-7676
Jeffrey Chodorow’s latest insta-scene specializes in robatayaki—grilled food traditionally presented on wooden peels. Here, though, fancy bamboo skewers replace the peels, and the skewered foie gras and Kobe beef can be eaten at the communal table, inside a cabana, or, for the horizontally talented, in bed.
18 Ninth Ave.; 212-660-6766