Restaurant Review: Takashi

Kathleen Squires
Get set for a moo-ving experience at this "yakiniku," which must be Japanese for "meat orgy." Think Korean barbecue, lighter on the lettuce wraps and longer on offal, with a bonafide lesson in bovine anatomy. Pretty much every part of the cow comprises the menu, and diners do their own cooking right on the table. Before firing up the grills, a plate of gratis vegetables -- a fresh array of sesame-tinged soybean sprouts, fiery kimchi, and crisp cabbage leaves dressed in white miso paste -- ignites the appetite, prepping the palate for the beefy blitz to come. Once you order, plates come efficiently -- so quickly there's barely time to examine the chalkboard walls festooned with cartoons offering tidbits from correct grilling technique to yakiniku's origins. But let's get to the meat of the matter: here, adventurous eaters can explore the difference between "first stomach" ($14) and "fourth stomach" ($12), relating to degrees of chewiness, or enjoy the gentle firmness of cheek ($12). More conventional carnivores will delight to the buttery slabs of rib eye ($24); nicely-marbled, carpaccio-quality shoulder ($20); and fatty bits of skirt ($18). The common cuts are best ordered simply seasoned with salt, garlic and sesame oil; more unctuous ones, like heart ($12) and liver ($12), benefit from Takashi's secret marinade, which includes sesame, garlic, soy, and citrus. If you're disappointed there's no sushi on the menu, the niku-uni, raw chuck flap tucked in nori and shiso leaf, then topped with creamy sea urchin and wasabi ($24), is a damn good facsimile. Sides perfectly complement, and balance, the carnivorous feast, from peppery edamame ($6) to "rice bombs" ($8), which are nicely seasoned grains wrapped in seaweed. Scallions marinated in vinaigrette ($5) have a welcome sweetness. Even sweeter is the lone dessert, a creamy Madagascar vanilla soft-serve ($5) with choice of toppings ($2). You'll leave satisfied, having answered the age-old question: Why buy the cow? Because it's delicious.
456 Hudson St.
(212) 414-2929

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