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Tempura-Fried Pizza Creeps Its Way Back Into the Public Consciousness

The deep-fried slice at Sake Bar Hagi is popping up again

Foursquare/Nicky D.

More than decade old Times Square Japanese restaurant Sake Bar Hagi's tempura-fried pizza is creeping its way back into the public consciousness. First this week, travel and dining blog Eataku reviewed the deep fried slice at Sake Bar Hagi's new location at 358 46th Street, which opened a few months ago. Today, Gothamist picked it up, declaring "Here's The Tempura Fried Pizza Nobody Asked For." "It's exactly what it sounds like," Eataku writes, "a slice of pizza that's been battered and deep fried..."

Like some other novelty foods — see: rainbow bagel — the deep fried pizza slice at Sake Bar Hagi has been around for a while. An employee at the restaurant, which has been open for about 13 years, tells Eater that the item has been always been on the menu, though she did not know how exactly they make the $6 slices. In 2011, Serious Eats' Daily Slice even reviewed it and loved it. They similarly took an awe-struck tone: "Sometimes I think it's enough to show you all a picture and simply write, This exists," the review says. "So, friends, This tempura pizza at Sake Bar Hagi exists." The bold and italics are from the piece, and it also notes that tempura-fried pizza already existed in Berkeley.

It's possible that the advent of tempura-fried pizza was too early — before the Cronut showed the world how viral food could garner lots of attention for websites and restaurants alike. And Sake Bar Hagi has other colorful items anyway, like a spaghetti with ketchup, bacon, and green peppers, a dish that the Times said was objectively not good back in 2007. Regardless of the tempura-fried pizza's viral potential, Eataku and Serious Eats spoke well of the actual taste, calling it light, crispy, and "damn good."