In 2019, Chaco Bar moved to bigger premises in Potts Point. Now the original Darlinghurst location specialises in ramen, while the newest outpost focuses exclusively on yakitori. This version is bigger and better than its forebear.
The speciality here is Fukuoka-style charcoal-grilled skewers of chicken thigh, hearts, gizzards, liver, pork belly, lamb shoulder, zucchini and hunks of miso eggplant. There’s also simple sides, such as tsukune (Japanese meatballs served with semi-boiled egg for dipping); fish-roe topped rice bowls; sashimi; sizzling gyoza; as well as beer and shochu (a clear spirit).
Abe couldn’t – or rather didn’t – want to replicate the atmosphere or decor of the restaurants back home. On one side of the room there are small tables, a cocktail bar and stool seating, and on the other, two long, dark timber tables. Linking them at the back of the restaurant is an island grill that owner Keita Abe and chef Chris Xin (ex-Tetsuya’s and Rockpool Dining Group) work on. In front of that is a bar where a lucky few diners can watch the action.
The drinks menu at the new Chaco is another step up. The list is comprised of mixed-style sakes, highball cocktails and a small wine list with a wide, regional spread.