Takashi – Really Exceptional Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) in the West Village
Takashi is a new Japanese yakiniku restaurant in the West Village. Yakiniku is the Japanese version of Korean BBQ. It is quite similar to Korean BBQ, but generally I find that there tends to be more cuts of meat available at yakiniku restaurants and the marinade tends to be less heavy handed than at Korean BBQ restaurants, but overall you won’t notice huge differences at good places (fyi for comparison sake no place in Manhattan serves really good Korean BBQ).
Takashi specializes in beef and serves no other types of meat. Chef Takashi Inoue is a 3rd generation Korean who was born and raised in Osaka, Japan (Koreans are the largest minority in Japan). I watched an interview with him on their website and he stated that the meat must be very fresh and he takes a lot of time to do the prep work. It is always great to find a chef who takes the time to do things correctly (part of what I absolutely love about great Japanese restaurants). According to their website Takashi features beef from local New York state farms from of Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market, Kansas’ Creekstone Farm of Pat Lafrieda, and Oregon’s Washugyu cows of Japanese Premium Beef.
The restaurant is quite small with seven small tables with grills in the middle of them and a chef’s counter. The service was decent, but a little disorganized perhaps because it’s a new restaurant.
On to the food:
They start the meal off with a trio of a cabbage salad with a ginger ponzu sauce, bean sprouts marinated in sesame oil and crushed sesame and kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage). These were all decent, but not outstanding. I like the cabbage salad the best. 7/10
This is their version of a traditional Korean dish called yook hwe. It consists of thinly-sliced chuck eye tartare in a sauce that I believe had soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil, garlic and perhaps a few other ingredients. The meat is topped with sesame seeds, shredded nori (dried BBQ’d seaweed), quail egg yolk and lemon. The sweet and saltiness of the sauce goes well with the beef. The beef is very good quality, so it has a great clean beef flavor. 7.75/10
This is minced raw chuck flap hand-rolled sushi. It looks just like any other sushi with the finely minced beef on top of a small rectangle of rice with sesame seeds and diced green onions sprinkled on top of it. They give you large sheets of nori (BBQ’d seaweed) that you wrap the sushi in and then dip it is soy sauce and wasabi. It was good, but because raw beef is a light in flavor and I felt that the beef was somewhat overpowered by the flavors of the nori and soy sauce. That said you can tell how high quality the beef is as it is really clean tasting. 7.5/10
I was very excited to try this because it looks so great. It is chuck flap topped with sea urchin and fresh wasabi on shiso leaf and nori (BBQ’d seaweed). You wrap it all up and then dip it in soy sauce and wasabi. This was very good, the creamy clean flavor of the uni combined with the shiso and nori is a great combination. Because raw beef by itself is fairly light in flavor it almost adds more texture as opposed to flavor, but it works well. 8.25/10
This was cow tongue marinated in sesame oil, salt, pepper and lemon. This was some of the better tongue I’ve ever had; I actually didn’t tell some people what it was since people tend to get squeamish around organ and other odd cuts of meat. Everyone thought this was really good and were even more surprised when I told them what it was. It was clean tasting and tender, it was perfect for the BBQ. 8.5/10
This was ribeye served simply with salt, pepper and lemon. It was a beautiful cut of meat with such nice marbling. This was simple, but really good once it was BBQ’d. It was very tender and had beautiful flavor. 8.75/10
This was heart marinated in sesame oil, salt, pepper and lemon. I think most people have some misconception of heart as they’ve never tried it. Heart is a muscle and because it is so lean it can actually be somewhat firm to tough depending on whether you cooked it correctly; I think a lot of people think it’s going to be some really weird tasting meat, but that is far from the case. It is light in flavor and has no gaminess or other odd flavor to it. The heart here was really well done. Firm, but tender enough at the same time and really great flavor after it is BBQ’d. I haven’t had hear t this good in a long time. 8.75/10
This was the meat between the ribs. It was marinated in the Takashi sauce, which was more similar to typical Korean BBQ marinade. The meat is fatty, so it is very tender and flavorful. They serve it with a light semi-sweet soy sauce that was great because while it had a good flavor it did not overpower the meat, so you could still taste the meat and not just the sauce. Overall, I liked it, but it didn’t show case the quality of the beef quite as well as some of the other cuts although it was still very good. 8/10 (it is the meat on the left side of the plate in the picture)
This was the outside skirt steak. This was a nice cut of meat marinated in the Takashi sauce. The meat has enough fat that made it quite tender and flavorful, but wasn’t overly fatty so it had a good balance. This was perfect for grilling. 8.5/10 (it is the meat on the right side of the plate in the picture)
This was a special that night and was marinated in the Takashi sauce. It was quite fatty, but I like fatty meats, so it hit the spot for me. 8.5/10 (it is the meat on the left side of the plate in the picture)
This was short rib that was really beautifully marbled, probably the prettiest piece of kalbi I’ve ever seen. It was marinated in the Takashi sauce. I don’t know what to say about it other than it was really good. 8.75/10 (it is the meat on the right side of the plate in the picture)
I was really surprised at the quality of the meat here, everything was really great. I think this is one of the better meals I’ve had in NY in a quite a while. I want to come back to try more of their offal dishes as I just didn’t have enough stomach room to try anymore. I highly recommend coming here as soon as you can.
456 Hudson St (between Morton St & Barrow St)
New York, NY 10014
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