Thursday, November 8, 2012

New York: Niku Uni and Takashi

Immediately after, we had to make our way to Takashi for our dinner reservation.  Now this is our actual dinner while Fish and Bleecker Street Pizza were more like pit stops.  Now that I think about it, we ate a ton that Saturday haha.

Takashi is this yakiniku restaurant in West Village, focusing on raw and grilled beef.  The chef is actually Korean and grew up in Japan, then he decided to open up a restaurant combining best of both.  Infamous for appearing in one of Anthony Bourdain's Layover episode!  While already popular, I'm sure the exposure on Layover generated crazy hype and it was definitely the most looked forward to meal for our NY trip this time around.  If you like Gyu-Kaku, then this place will blow your mind.  

456 Hudson St
Between Morton St & Barrow St
West Village
New York, NY 10014

Takashi!  Thanks Jimmy ahah.


cabbage with miso dressing homemade kimchi bean sprouts
The complimentary dishes they start everyone with: miso cabbage, kimchi, and beansprouts.  The miso dressing over the cabbage is very vinegar-y.  Kimchi wasn't too crazy, but the beansprouts can rival any Korean restaurants.  Too bad no continuous servings like Korean banchan.

menu menu
Parts of the menu.

Had to get a bottle of sake!

Jimmy went with the Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai.  "Premium Japanese Sake," cause it was a pricey bottle, but damn, it was good haha. 

sake glasses
They bring out this tray and you get to choose your own sake cups!  

niku uni
This is what we came here for, the infamous Niku Uni, which is Kobe chuck flap topped with sea urchin and fresh wasabi, wrapped by seaweed shiso leaf.  Jeebus this was good!  Fatty marbled chuck and the creamy smooth uni is straight up addicting.  The shiso leaf is pretty damn strong, but I love that herbaceous flavor.  One bite and you're done, but what a heavenly bite.

Yooke = thinly-sliced chuck eye tartare in special sauce
Yooke, our tartare dish of the night.  Thinly-sliced chuck eye tartare in their special sauce.

Our server mixing the quail egg in.  Beef tartare + quail egg is a classic combo.

mixed with egg
This dish definitely has a bit of the Korean influence with the sauce.  One of the best Asian tartare I've had anywhere.  Love that red hue from the beef too.  Sometimes when you eat tartare, you get a few pieces that's already browning, and it just throws your appetite off, but none of that here.

chimney hood
The chimney hood.  Edwin's bored.

With yakinuki, there's always a soy sauce-based dipping sauce.

U.S. Kobe Marbled Chuck-flat Steak
First up, US Kobe marbled chuck flat steak!

grilling chuck
They don't use charcoal like many yakiniku places, so it doesn't have that smoky flavor.  The one good thing about electric grill is that you can have a greater control of heat, which is a good thing here since you don't want to overcook Kobe beef.

Chuck steak on the rare side.  Fatty, juicy, smooth... just insert all good adjectives you can think about meat here.

shio tan = tongue
Edwin, Jimmy, and Link are big fan of beef tongue, so we got the Shio Tan.

tongue grilling
I am not that big of a fan, but not gonna lie, tongue here is good haha.  That dipping sauce makes everything taste good.

marinated goodness
Our marinated cuts, Tsurami and Beef Belly.  Bourdain ordered these too :P

beef belly
Beef Belly.  I've actually had beef belly at KBBQ in LA, but none as good as this.  It looks like uncured bacon, just red.

Tsurami = cheek
Tsurami, which is beef cheek.  Cheek of an animal always have a very interesting texture since the muscle is used so often.

Once the edges start to curl, time to flip!

Both have the same marinade, but very different texture.  Tsurami, the smaller piece, is more "interactive" (in Bourdain's words) because it's much chewier piece of meat, but tender at the same time.  Beef belly is as soft as it could be.

fat sizzling
A piece of fat I've been grilling on the side from the US Kobe Chuck until it crisped up.  GDI it was good!

Asian-Cajun Andoillete
We decided to get one more to finish out the night, and went with the special, Asian-Cajun Andoillete.

Asian-Cajun Andoillete = 100% kobe sausage stuffed in large intestine
100% Kobe sausage with Cajun spices, stuffed in beef large intestine.  Way too interesting not to try!

Crispy intestine on the outside and super juicy Kobe on the inside.  All the juices from the fat is trapped in so it was like a beef-flavor overload with a bit of Cajun.

It really was one of the best meal I've had in NY, and that includes the Michelin rated restaurants to the street carts.  There's just something about BBQ that speaks to me, especially really high quality BBQ!  I tried to embed a short video Travel Channel had on their website with Anthony Bourdain's Layover New York episode but Travel Channel is not cooperating... so here's the link to a summary and the full episode:!


The sausage was really fatty, so after Takashi, I really wanted something sweet.  While we were walking around, we found Grom, a gelato shop!  Grom is actually a Torino, Italy transplant, with several locations in the US.  They are known for using exotic and seasonal ingredients to craft their gelato.  Somehow we found a popular gelato shop by luck haha.

Grom Gelato
233 Bleecker St Carmine St
West Village 
New York, NY 10022

Outside.  Very packed.

everything's zagat rated
Everything in NY is Zagat rated.  Crazy.  Found out there's a Malibu location in LA too.  A bit far, but one day, I check it out.  

Order first, then pick the flavors!

October's flavors and specials.

Decided to get a small, which comes with two flavors.

Limone, sorbet made with lemons from Sicily.  Perfect after a heavy meal.

chocolate hazelnutBacio, which is Venezuelan "Ocumare" chocolate and Tonda Gentile hazelnut chips.  Not gonna try and pretend I know what they are or what they are suppose to taste like, but damn, it was a good chocolate gelato with the hazelnut chips.  Awesome texture.  Actually, it was like a cool Nutella!

After eating around West Village (Bleecker Street Pizza, Fish, Takashi, and Grom), we went back to Jimmy's and got ready for the Halloween celebration happening on that Saturday.  It was a good thing we ate a lot too, to help hold in the alcohol haha.