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Review Recap: Takashi

Today, Sam Sifton pens quite possibly the most ecstatic one-star review ever, which he bestows upon Takashi. It’s a West Village Japanese barbecue restaurant that celebrates the unmentionable cow parts that many people would shudder to eat:

Raw tripe with a spicy miso sauce follows, salt and fire set against the spongy flesh, and a dish of flash-boiled shredded Achilles tendon, the tendrils fantastic in texture and taste. These might be dried tofu or cooked pasta, long mushrooms or pieces of ear: a magic, nervous-making dish.

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.

Why only one star? He concedes the restaurant is “modest,” the food “simple,” the wine list merely “adequate.” Dessert is limited to soft-serve vanilla ice cream. And you might find the food a bit off-putting, but…

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?

As always, we conclude with our selection of Sifton’s lazy and exaggerated prose, of which there is more than usual this week:

  • Cubed raw liver…tastes of lightning storms on the high plains, of fear and magnificence combined.
  • In the thrall of its consumption, the whole dining room seems to pulse with life.
  • A raw baby carrot taken after a bite of the marinated grilled tongue…is a terrific combination
  • …a soft, fragrant ginger shoot after a piece of simply dressed rib-eye…may haunt your memory for days

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