To celebrate some good news, we decided to grab some meat at Takashi, a place which so craftily served us some delicious beef ramen just a week or two prior. For the run down on that, scroll down to the bottom of this review, or check out The Great Noodle Chase post.
This time around we wanted grilled beef the whole way. No broth. No noodles. Just the protein. And that’s kinda what Takashi is all the fuck about! They ONLY serve beef. No pork. No fucking chicken. BEEF. And not only that, but it’s all top notch kobe quality, and they ain’t afraid to serve up the nasty bits – the offal. Fuck… This place even has testicles on the menu, and they have no shame in putting the words BEEF BALLS on the fucking menu! Needless to say, this fucking place is made for guys like me.
First came some small dishes of Kim chi, bean sprouts and cabbage with soy ginger dressing. Yeah, I ate it…
Next was the raw sea urchin on top of a nice slice of kobe chuck flap with wasabi, shiso leaf and seaweed paper. This dish is called niku-uni. It was really clean and delicious. I could easily eat a dozen of these shits, no problem.
Then came the soft beef shank steamed buns with spicy mayo and scallions. These were tender and juicy, and fucking packed with bold flavor.
Then there was this awesomeness. Aged kobe prosciutto (whaaaaaat!?!!) with thinly sliced blue cheese and micro scallions, topped with a soy hazelnut honey mustard seed jam. It was earthy and robust. The characteristic aged flavors were highlighted with a nutty, funky-ass barnyard kick from the cheese. Yet it didn’t destroy the pallette. Props to the chef.
Then the grill heated up and the meats came out. Essentially the grill is just a heater coil element like what you have inside an electric oven. I think NYC has some shitty law that bans open flames in dining areas. So this is not technically the traditional open flame yakatori style you find in Japan, but it did fill the craving for grilled meat.
All of the meats were marinated in the house special Takashi sauce, and served with a small dish of sesame oil for dipping. They could have maybe brought out some lettuce leaves to wrap the meat, or a crunch element like fried crispy onion or shallot to sprinkle on top. The meat by itself was good, but I can see how maybe some people would want to mix up the textures a little bit.
Beef belly was the first plate of yum to come. Delicious. Not too chewy, not too fatty. It was cut about a quarter inch thick.
We ordered the chef’s selection of meats as well.
Here’s what came in that plate:
The front left is 1st stomach (cows have 4 stomachs, morons). It was chewy, and we were warned that this would be a lot of mouth work to get through. Why even serve it this way, I wonder? Better to braise it slow and low I would think.
On the front right we have beef heart. It cooked up like a very lean meat: good for a nice quick even sear.
The back right is 4th stomach. This was way more tender, thicker, juicier and flavorful than 1st stomach.
That’s liver on the back left. This was my least favorite. It was gamey, mealy, and very irony. I guess for my taste, liver is best served in pate form.
In the center are the sweetbreads. These glands were creamy and smooth. Very nice, with a great crisp.
The last meat we tried were the cheeks. This was the best of them all. It was sliced thin like bacon, and they crisped up nicely on the grill. Perfect.
Then we saw the table next to get the nose to tail beef platter.
Fucking bastards. We asked for it when we sat but they said we needed 4 people to order. Bullshit. We definitely could have finished it all, and I wouldn’t have minded paying 60pp for two instead of 30pp for four. Oh well. Maybe if there’s 4 of us next time…
Dessert was Madagascar vanilla soft serve ice cream, topped with soft chewy mochi balls, soy powder, sweet red beans, gold leaf and salted caramel sauce. Thankfully the sauce was served on the side. It was too bitter for our liking. The ice cream itself was great, and good with the sweet beans.
Pretty solid meal. It was a little pricey, but definitely enjoyable. I’d definitely go back to try out some more shit.
Real deal beef ramen DOES exist. I heard about some late night ramen joint in the west village called Takashi that serves up an all-beef broth ramen on Friday and Saturday nights only, from 12:00am to 2:00am. It was tough, but I ended up getting a seat for my wife and I to slurp up some of this delicious shit. We started with some beer and took in the surroundings:
As I mentioned, it’s a beef broth, but it contains crispy beef intestines, FUCKING BRAISED KOBE BEEF BELLY!!!, a soft boiled egg, and alkaline ramen noodles. The little blob of red you see in the middle is the spicy paste that my wife got with her bowl. I prefer no spicy paste, as it masks the beef flavor too much for my liking (though I DO love very spicy foods):
If you’re in town overnight on a weekend and are up for something bold and adventurous, give this bowl a try. The only problem is that you will need to try for a reservation on the Monday prior at 5pm. That’s when they start taking reservations. I emailed on Tuesday afternoon for my rez and they were already booked solid. They asked if I wanted to be on a waiting list in case someone cancels: I said yes. I found out on Friday at about 4:00pm that they had an opening for me and my wife at midnight. SWEET!
I finally got to try the nose-to-tail cow feast here, thanks to the good people at Tabelog. We started with some really amazing apps though:
Kobe beef tartare:
This was delicious. Clean, earthy, cool, and lots of texture. Our awesome waiter Reese mixed in the quail egg for us after patiently waiting as we snapped photos of all the apps.
Soft boiled egg with beef prosciutto and caviar:
This was difficult to eat. The glass egg made it tough to allow for proper mixing of the components within, but the flavor was really nice. Egg was cooked perfectly.
Raw beef liver sashimi:
Much better than you might expect. Raw liver tastes WAY better than cooked liver. There is no iron taste and no mealy texture. It’s soft, creamy, and clean.
Crispy tripe salad:
Chewy, but for those who dig tripe, this is a win. Dip into some of the spicy sauce they serve it with, or the more traditional sesame oil + salt combo, and enjoy.
We also had the kobe beef prosciutto with blue cheese and micro greens that we had last time, along with the uni dish that we had last time as well. They were too good to pass up, and I wanted to make sure the Tabelog folks tasted them (you can see pics of those above).
I should also mention that we had a really great waitress as well, named Yuki. As the restaurant got more and more busy, she had to multi-task a bit, and Reese sort of relieved her at our table. But at one point we caught a glimpse of her serving up this monster set of ribs to the table next to us. Looked amazing! My wife’s Instagram feed (@thecakedealer) has a nice pic of it on the grill.
Now on to the main course – 16 cuts of cow.
Top row (from right to left):
tongue, cheek, shoulder, rib eye, between the ribs, tail.
Middle row (from right to left):
sweet breads, heart, liver, first stomach, second stomach.
Bottom row (from right to left):
short rib, skirt, belly, fourth stomach, large intestine.
If you’re an astute reader, you may be wondering what the fuck happened to third stomach. It’s only served as an app, so that will have to be a “next time” item. Anyway, Reese gave us a run down on each cut, instructing us on how long each piece should be cooked, and what to expect for each (soft, chewy, creamy, etc). Rather than labor on with the monotony of each and every cut’s flavor, texture, and rating, I’ll just give you a quick list of our favorites. Cheek, shoulder, rib eye, between the ribs, short rib, and belly. The rest were all good, but if I go back, I’ll probably focus more on the faves.
Here’s some additional meatporn for you:
456 Hudson St.
New York, NY 10014