The last time I came to NYC, I didn’t have the time or patience to wait at least 2 hours for dinner so I was hoping that this time around I could try Takashi. My Montreal foodie friend had recommended this restaurant to me. I didn’t make reservations at this restaurant because they don’t allow reservations under 4 people. I arrived at the restaurant after 5:30pm (their opening time is 5:30pm) and was told that the wait is about 1.5 hours. I put my name down on the list and did a brief tour of Greenwich Village while I waited. I’m guessing that I should arrive between 5-5:20pm in order to be able to be potentially seated at 5:30pm if I come again without reservations. The servers here are very nice and knowledgeable. The decor itself is very rustic and modern simultaneously with splashes of Japanese artwork. The lighting is abit dark.
I was seated at the bar which seats 3 couples as denoted by a grill and a bench for two. Takashi can be an adventure on the wilder side of food. I decided to try some of their limited availability items and some of their more adventurous offerings. I got the Namagimo ($16 USD + tax), Testicargot ($12 USD + tax), grilled hatsu/heart ($14 USD + tax) and miso-marinated sweetbread on squid ink rice ($20 USD + tax). Takashi serves 3 complimentary side dishes which are kimchi, beansprouts dusted with sesame seeds and cabbage which provide the vegetables for an otherwise meat focused menu. The complimentary sides were good and well-seasoned.
Namagimo is a limited availability item and I was lucky to be able to get it. This dish is a cold appetizer. It is raw liver topped with green onions and scallions on sesame oil and garnished with a lemon wedge and a shiso leaf. It comes with roasted rock salt on the side. I was advised to liberally squirt the lemon juice all over the dish. I found it abit hard to pick up the liver with the toppings on top so I used my chopsticks to sprinkle the salt on top of the meat before eating it. Although the liver is abit tough, it was a delicious combination.
Testicargot is cow balls done in an escargot style with garlic shiso butter and garnished with a lemon wedge. Once again I was advised to liberally apply lemon juice to the dish. The garlic shiso butter reminded me strongly of pesto and tasted like pesto. The escargot style cow balls are reminded me of takoyaki but without the batter. If you’re adventurous, I recommend trying this dish.
Grilled hatsu/heart meat is a limited availability item. The hatsu/heart meat are served raw and sliced with a side of Takashi’s sesame sauce and green onions. You grill the meat in front of you. It was tasty.
The miso marinated sweetbreads on squid ink rice with spicy yuzu saffron aioli and shredded seaweed that’s served on a magnolia leaf is interesting. The entire concoction is grilled in front of you until it bubbles for a bit before being expertly pulled back on to the wooden serving board. The spicy yuzu aioli wasn’t spicy. The squid ink rice was tasty albeit I was expecting a larger portion of it. Originally I thought that the sweetbread would be a kind of sweet bread. Sweetbread is actually the throat or pancreas of a cow or calf. Since the offal is suppose to be marinated in miso, I thought it would be salty, it was however quite sweet. I tried a tiny piece of the magnolia leaf for curiosity’s sake and it was chewy and slightly tasteless since it borrows the taste from the squid ink rice and aioli.
The next time I come I want to try Calf’s Brain Cream in a tube with Blinis & Caviar, grilled stomachs, grilled tongue experience, niku-uni, amongst other dishes.