NYC: Takashi (Feb. 2013)
Chef: Takashi Inoue
Date: February 25, 2013
I’ve wanted to try Takashi for a few months now, ever since I heard about it from a friend. The NYTimes summarizes it pretty well in its review: “[Takashi] specializes in raw offal and Korean-style Japanese barbecue.” The menu has a bunch of bizarre dishes and cuts of meat to try, and this is one of the few restaurants where I can see that I want to try the entire menu. (You can check out the menu here.)
Pretty much EVERYTHING on the menu looks amazing. “Calf’s brain cream tube”? Bone marrow–and–crawfish dumplings? Beef heart chili? Beef tongue, stomach, and cheek? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES. I wanted to try EVERYTHING!
As for thoughts of the meal, I thought everything was pretty good. Generally, the ingredients were high-quality, and most of the stuff tasted fresh. As for subpar dishes, the gyutoro-temaki sushi, bone marrow–and–crawfish dumplings, and testicargot really weren’t that great.
The food’s kind of pricey, so you should be willing to spend if you really want to try a good variety of the dishes—and I highly suggest that you order a lot of dishes so that you can try a lot of them. They all look really interesting! Also, definitely make sure to bring some friends who are willing to be adventurous!
Lastly, there was a ridiculous moment in the meal when we were just happily enjoying our food and my friend, for reasons unknown, randomly asked, “Can you imagine if we lit a cow on fire? How amazing it would taste?”
We started the meal off with “nama” (cold appetizers) and normal appetizers, which were warm.
Chuck flap served on leaves of seaweed and shiso topped with raw uni and fresh wasabi
This was the high point of the meal, and it was AMAZING. The uni was incredibly fresh, and the combination of the chuck flap, shiso, uni, seaweed, and wasabi worked really, really well. It was kind of a shame that we started off at such a high point in the meal and never reached such a point again :(.
Chuck flap–topped nigiri sushi served with wrapping seaweed and fresh wasabi
Conceptually, as “beef” sushi, this appetizer was solid, but the flavor was really subtle—you had to really look for the taste.
Grandmom’s Steamed Beef Shank Buns with Spicy Mayo
These were really good—the beef shank provides a different flavor than the pork belly buns that we’re so used to at, say, Momofuku Noodle Bar or Ippudo, but these buns were equally as satisfying to eat.
Bone Marrow–and–Crawfish Dumplings with Hong Kong–Style Hot Peanut Oil Sauce
I think whatever made this appetizer so conceptually wonderful was lost on me :(.
Cow balls escargot-style with garlic shiso butter
The “testicargot” just tasted like normal escargot with the texture of beef—I’m not sure if it’s really better than normal escargot, though I guess this was a really interesting appetizer to try.
After finishing the appetizers, we proceeded to the “yaki”, which basically is the grilling portion of the meal. For this part, we ordered:
Horumon-Moriawase (chef’s selection of the best cuts of the day)
Bottom right: Hatsu (Heart)
Top left: Kimo (Liver)
Middle: Shibire (Sweetbreads)
Top right: Mino (1st Stomach)
Bottom left: Akasen (4th Stomach)
Yaki 2: Tsurami (cheek)
Yaki 3: Hachinosu (2nd stomach)
Yaki 4: Kalbi (U.S. Wagyu premium short rib)
Yaki 5: Tan-saki, Tan-suji, and Tan-moto (the tongue experience—it basically consisted of the back, middle, and tip of the tongue!)
The restaurant really only has one type of dessert, house-made Madagascar vanilla ice cream. There are three types of toppings (you can choose all three by asking for “the works”), and there are four types of sauces to choose from.
We got “the works” with green tea syrup, which was AMAZING. It basically tasted like matcha and sugar hahaha. I also LOVE red bean, so I really, really liked this dessert. It was pretty simple, but it was executed very well.