April 25, 2010

Cowtastic!

We loved our dinner at Takashi tonight, a tiny new new yakiniku (grilled meat) restaurant in the West Village that hails from the whole animal school of cooking. All the beef comes with a pedigree: Dickson Farmstand, Kansas’ Creekstone Farm via Pat LaFreida, and Japanese Premium Beef’s Oregon washugyu. In addition to some of the best short rib and ribeye we’ve had in recent memory, Chef Takashi devotes a whole section of this cow-only restaurant to horumon, or innards, including three different stomachs and the large intestine.

A charmingly illustrated blackboard that wraps around half the restaurant explains how to cook your meats on the high-tech tabletop grills and extolls the virtues of horumon: “The horumon team, working to help ladies get and keep clear, beautiful skin.” The musky/spicy pickled sesame leaf wrapped around rice balls in the bakudan "rice bomb" is touted as a “super veggie, great scent, chock full of alpha linoleic acid, which can prevent hardening of arteries.”

The smokeless, super-hot grills make browning the meats a fast operation. After a trio of complimentary Korean-style small dishes (left), our favorite sides were a very crunchy spicy cucumber dish, edamame bathed in sesame oil, salt and lot of black pepper and simmered ramps. For horumon, the kitchen had run out of hearts but still had cheeks, which were tasty but sinewy, what with all that skin-enhancing cartilage.

After the hot grilling, the house-made Madagascar soft-serve vanilla offered some refreshing coolness. Topping choices include shiratama (rice flour dumplings), kuragoma kinako (black sesame and soybean flour), and azuki beans. As I am a big fan of any Japanese dessert, I was happy to find another source in my neighborhood.

Takashi is a young third-generation Korean-Japanese from Osaka who’s cooking from his grandmother’s recipes. Judging from tonight's hour-long wait and the quality of our dinner, he is doing his obaachan proud.

Takashi, 456 Hudson St, (at Barrow St), New York, NY 10014, 212-414-2929