Some foodie questions are just too tough to answer, like, “What’s your favorite restaurant?” Or, “What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?”
Narrow it down, though, and game on. For instance, were you to ask me, “What’s your favorite Korean BBQ restaurant in NYC?” I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you Takashi. Or, suppose you inquired, “What’s the best interactive meal you’ve had in a while?” I would easily answer Takashi (Korean BBQ meat is served raw–there’s a big grill in the middle of your table, where you cook the meat yourself and immediately devour).
This meat-lovers restaurant in the West Village has me seriously swooning (if you’re vegetarian, I’d stop reading right about…now). My first offal experience a few years ago had me confused why the sweetbreads my server had described to me weren’t sweet and definitely weren’t bread (for those not in the know, sweetbreads are cow thymus…yeah, I know…). Since then, though, my love for offal has grown exponentially, and I jump at the chance to eat any organ thrown my way. I’ll also never turn down Korean food. And I f*cking love kimchi. Making Takashi my Asian dream come true.
My boyfriend and I were slightly out of our element the first time we went, so we took a leap of faith and left our entire meal in our trusty server’s hands. Let me tell you–she did not disappoint.
Will and I started with red red kimchi and yooke, or thinly-sliced chuck eye tartare in special sauce. The kimchi, or fermented cabbage, was deeper than any I had tried before–it was slightly smoky with a thick red sauce on top. I definitely prefer regular kimchi (which they also served us later with the BBQ), but this was an interesting and tasty variation. The yooke was one of the stars of our meal. It was more intense than your average raw meat tartare: rather than being chopped up into imperceptible pieces, the meat was left chunky and whole, with each bite so satisfyingly chewy and tender, especially marinated in the raw egg, soy, sesame, and more.
Next up was the BBQ portion of our night. Our server gave us a tasting of a lot of the restaurant’s meats. We tried rosu (ribeye), shio-tan (tongue), tetchan (large intestine), hatsu (heart), shibire (sweetbreads), and stomach (I can’t remember if it was the first stomach, second, or fourth, which are all on offer at Takashi). Everything was succulent, fresh, tender, and delicious. My favorite was the large intestine–it was like eating grilled, marinated fat. It all comes served with lettuce, fresh veggies, a few sauces, and white rice to roll up in a glorious Korean burrito of sorts. I like eating mine separately, but it’s nice to have the variation.
And while I prefer a main course over dessert, the ice cream they top you off with is decadent. Soft-serve Madagascar vanilla with the works: rice flour dumplings, black sesame, sweet beans, and syrup (we went with the salted caramel). Divine.
When I crave Korean BBQ (which is more often than I think normal), Takashi is where I want to be. Is it my all-time favorite restaurant? No, probably not. But it’s definitely my favorite KBBQ around.
Takashi, http://takashinyc.com/index.htm, 456 Hudson Street (between Morton & Barrow Streets), New York, NY, 212-414-2929