Takashi in the West Village: Horumon-Yaki, or Grilled Guts
Takashi, a new Japanese grill-it-yourself restaurant in the West Village, does offer fancy beef cuts like rib eye and short rib, but its focus is offal -- or horumon, meaning something that's thrown away. Horumon-yaki (grilled guts) is a restaurant style invented shortly after World War II in the Kansai region of Japan, reportedly by Korean immigrants.
Beef heart sizzles on the tabletop grill.
Chef Takashi is a third-generation Japanese Korean immigrant from Osaka. He stands behind the bar, deftly slicing meat and mixing sauces. The menu is almost entirely beef, every part of the cow you can think of, plus a few pickled vegetables and soft-serve ice cream for dessert.
That beef is from high-quality, sustainable sources like Dickson's Farmstand in Chelsea Market, Kansas's Creekstone Farm, and Japanese Premium Beef. It shows in the prices -- from $24 for rib eye, to $12 for heart. The portions are fairly small, such that two people need at least three dishes between them, so it adds up.
Aside from the beef meant for grilling, there's also a selection of raw and cold appetizers. This one is boiled third stomach, served cold with scallions and spicy miso sauce.
And here's "the tongue experience"! Clockwise from top left, that's tongue tip, tongue sinew, and regular old tongue. It's all marinating in a mixture of salt, garlic, and sesame oil.
And milky, bulbous sweetbreads: Cooked on the grill, the glands brown on the outside and get firm and creamy on the inside.
456 Hudson Street