I’m not quite sure how long Takashi has been open, but I had it in my Yelp bookmarks for a while. A few weeks ago Anthony Bourdain premiered a new show called The Layover. The show’s concept is as exactly as it sounds — you are in a city for 36-48 hours for a layover and need to do as much as you can in that time. One of the first episodes was Tony’s home town of New York City. It just so happened that Bourdain stops in Takashi, one of his favorite new restaurants. While its awesome that he went there, it is slightly less awesome in that the lines are now going to be crazy.
My friend and I showed up to Takashi at about 5:20, ten minutes before they opened and a line was already forming. You can make reservations if you are 4 or more people, but being two, we had to just hope we’d get there in time for a seat. It turned out we could sit, but only for an hour. The tables are small, seating about 4-6 people and have a grill in the center. The dishes at Takashi are either raw meats or meats that come raw that you cook on your personal grill. I can’t stress enough the freshness of the meat, maybe some of the freshest, tastiest meat I’ve had at any restaurant in Manhattan, or anywhere.
The food here isn’t cheap either, as you can imagine. When you get meat this fresh, I suppose you have to expect that to be the case. After ordering, I noticed the tables next to ours with the same dishes, so I knew we did something right. We started with to raw dishes: Yooke, which was thinly sliced chuck tartare with a raw quail egg and seaweed as well as the Niku-Uni which was raw chuck flap with sea urchin and fresh wasabi. The latter of the raw dishes was something Bourdain ate on the show and with my love of Uni, I knew I had to order it. The tartare is a nice size appetizer portion, as are most of the raw dishes. The chuck/uni dish was served four to an order. At $6 a piece, its not cheap, but its also one of the most delicious bites of food I’ve had in a while — well worth it.
As for the grilling part of the meal, we only ended up getting sweetbreads and beef belly. There were plenty of other more adventerous dishes that I would love to come back and try, but the belly and sweetbreads were out of this world. I’ve had sweetbreads that are usually pan fried, so this lightly grilled version was new to me. I could have sat there and eaten 20 of those little pieces. Each serving of the cook-to-order meats are small, about 6-8 pieces. You can easily rack up a big bill eating these little bites, but again, fresh meat, tender, cooked to perfection.
There are plenty of other options here, though they all revolve around meat. I’d love to get the tongue experience, which sounds like a tongue tasting menu. Also, trying the “chefs” selection would be a nice meal as well.
If you love beef, you will love Takashi. Make sure you come early or get a group and make a reservation. I’d imagine the wait at a regular eating time would be over an hour or more. I don’t know if I’d wait that long, but I would make time or a reservation and eat here ASAP. It truly was a beef lovers paradise.