Sam Sifton files on strange West Village newcomer Takashi this week, offering one star to its raw offal and Korean-style Japanese barbecue. The restaurant offers a string of unusual and impressive appetizers, followed by entrees cooked on the grill Korean barbecue style. The main draw here, Sifton says, is the meat is of incredibly high quality and parts from the entire animal are on offer. Some of his thoughts on the apps:
Cool, uncooked chuck meat that has been chopped, chopped and chopped again is placed in a delicate pillow over warm rice just scented with sweetened vinegar. The effect is meat sushi, gorgeous and puzzling, red against the white of starch, the flavor of the protein almost indistinguishable to that of tuna...For his main demographic, a disclamer: "Takashi is probably not for everyone: too do-it-yourself and odd. But its eccentricity is honest, its atmosphere winning and its food quite good. So there is large intestine on the menu. You are not in New York to play on the junior varsity, are you?" [NYT]
...Cubed raw liver comes to the table as well, a chilled, lumpy stew dressed with salt and sesame oil. It tastes of lightning storms on the high plains, of fear and magnificence combined. It is faintly metallic, rich with blood.
Jay Cheshes awards a whopping four out of five stars to Bowery Mexican joint Hecho en Dumbo: "In its first incarnation—when the name made more sense—Hecho en Dumbo was an off-the-grid pioneer. These days, fully formed as a restaurant, it’s en route to becoming a new Mexican classic." [TONY]
Cuozzo is pretty much blown away by the new Tribeca location of Tamarind, awarding it three stars: "If you've had it with Nobu's miso-glazed black cod, try T.T.'s black cod in a strange, dark sauce like nothing you've likely had in a New York Indian restaurant...chicken was often dry...Others were merely good...The best dishes more than compensated. They possess mysterious flavor chords forged from familiar and unfamiliar notes." [NYP]
Sarah DiGregorio thinks that perhaps Ryan Skeen has found his place at Harlem's 5 & Diamond: "Most of his publicity shots involve him posing with a very large, very dead pig. But he's also capable of coaxing intensity out of delicate ingredients. And that's what's most appealing about 5 & Diamond—the cooking of a chef who loves big flavors skewed toward the brighter, lighter ethos of spring." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand notes that despite a few missteps, Hecho en Dumbo on the Bowery is knocking it out of the park, Ryan Sutton gets wasted on the excellent rum cocktails at Cienfuegos and Carteles, Robert Sietsema compares the seafood at Halikarnas and Marmaris in Sheepshead Bay, Gael Greene offers some critiques and some kind words for Terrance Brennan's Tribeca mulligan Bar Artisanal Restaurant and Tapas Bar, and Alan Richman drops the unsurprising news that Ted's Montana Grill, a national chain with a location in Midtown, sucks.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A to Savoy's burger, Boozy NYC is not impressed with new cocktail bar Night of Joy, Cleaned My Plate offers a rave for Balaboosta, NY Journal likes Anfora but calls out some weaknesses with its wine list, The Food Doc tries the new brunch at Fatty 'Cue, Eating in Translation gives his seal of approval to new Williamsburg food trailer Goods Food, and Writing with my Mouth Full offers a round up of downtown's best sandwiches.