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west village

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Takashi: Late Night “Secret” Ramen Soothes the Soul

As noted in NY Mag’s article on late night ramen joints, Yakiniku Takashi has joined the list of Japanese restaurants that provide a different menu into the wee hours of the night. The seating is only available on Fridays and Saturdays on a reservation basis only. You can email them (ramen@takashinyc.com) to ensure a spot for maximum of 4 people. It wasn’t too difficult to score seats (surprisingly). After enduring several hours of hunger pains, I arrived at Yakiniku Takashi hungry and ready to pounce on my ramen.

They only have one type – the beef broth based ramen served with scallions, seaweed, beef belly and beef intestine (spicy or not). The glean on top is the oil, and that’s when you know you’re about to taste something hearty. The thin noodles were cooked just right, al dente, and soaked in the velvety broth. Other ingredients and seasonings made the broth come alive: The crispy beef intestine provided additional texture with each bite. Scallions helped cut the fattiness of the ramen while the seaweed provided the extra layer of umami flavor amongst the pork belly and beef.

All in all, I would go back especially considering this tough cold winter. How many below freezing nights and snow storms can we really endure? It definitely warms the body full of fatty flavorful goodness, and assures you that you’ll get through the winter just fine.

Yakiniku Takashi
456 Hudson Street (near Barrow St.)
New York NY 10014
(212) 414-2929

 

 

dinner/ Japanese/ nyc

Sushi Nakazawa: Looking Beyond His Tutelage

Chef Nakazawa, apprentice of the famous Jiro from “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“, has touched down to New York’s West Village and opened up a sushi restaurant. You have the freshest fish being served here alongside a fine sake selection. The decor inside is simple and elegant.

In my opinion, the biggest differentiator within high-end sushi omakases comes down to how each chef decides to prepare the fish – not just raw with rice, but use of various approaches like torching, marination or aging with the fish itself. Sushi Nakazawa definitely has  interesting ways of seafood preparation in additon to housing the famous tamago (egg omelet) that required Jiro’s stamp of approval, so come and seek it out (yes it has a $150 price tag).

Unforunately I can’t identify all the fish here, but as you can tell there are a number of different delicious pieces.

More and more fish!

This series of sushi pieces resonated with me because they had an interesting texture or were just very fresh.

Uni. Enough said.

Tuna hand roll – delicious and easy to eat, despite being at the tail end of the omakase.

The famous tamago that takes months to perfect. It was almost cake-like and sweet, a good way to end the meal as almost like a dessert.

It’s an expensive meal but a very good one. I would happily go again, and eat some more well prepared and thought out sushi. Something is said to having a great meal where everything is tasty, simple and well-balanced, just the way the Japanese do it.

Sushi Nakazawa
23 Commerce St
New York, 10014
Phone:(212) 924-2212

American Traditional/ dinner/ nyc

Recette: American Small Plates in a Small Space

When I heard about “American small plates”, a description of Recette’s dishes, I was utterly confused. What does that look like? Do they serve small portions of burgers, fries, pulled pork? After hearing that Recette got nominated for the James Beard New Restaurant award, this prompted me to check it out…and luckily I gathered a few friends to come with me. So, here are the dishes:

Pictured above is the berkshire pork belly served with rock shrimp, turnips, romesco, and sherry caramel. You can’t go wrong with braising pork belly, though I actually felt that the meat was a little tougher than I liked. The flavors were good though, right amount of salty and sweet.

Their sea scallops with cauliflower, braised celery, celery root, and coconut broth was very good. The cauliflower was a highlight for me because it was nicely cooked and soaked up the flavors of the broth. The scallops were cooked nicely but were very small; they just didn’t feel meaty enough for me.

Duck breast with leg and foie gras terrine, chard, chanterelles, and walnuts is as intense as it sounds…and not necessarily in a bad way. The duck breast was cooked very well, and I enjoyed dabbing it in the little bit of balsamic. I didn’t touch the foie gras terrine because I actually don’t like foie gras (yes, don’t kill me for not).

I definitely wanted to try their fresh cut spaghetti with sweet shrimp, stewed tomato, chili, and sea urchin. This was actually the saddest part of the meal because I felt like it was too salty, and had three bites of it. I’m not sure what was over-salted, or they didn’t take under consideration the saltiness of the seafood, but it was just not a good combination. On paper it sounded so great but I was quite disappointed in its execution. The pasta itself wasn’t anything outstanding, and oddly enough wasn’t cooked al dente.

The duck fat fingerlings weren’t anything to die for and in fact, I wouldn’t be able to tell between normal and duck fat fingerlings. Originally they actually sent out the wrong dish to us, but was willing to take it back and give us this side dish. However, I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a dish that wow’ed me either.

We also ordered dessert (not pictured anywhere) and it was pretty good too…and more impressive than some of their savory dishes.

I would say my time at Recette was a bit mixed. It was freezing and they couldn’t turn down the AC so I actually ended up wearing my coat the whole time which puts a damper to my experience there. I understand – it is a very small space there isn’t much that can be done about it. I suppose that is just how it is at a typical romantic West Village restaurant where there’s dim lighting, intimate space (aka. extremely small), and can amount to quite an expensive meal.

Well, I’m just glad that I know what American small plates are.

Recette
328 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 414-3000