Warning: an intolerable amount of nerdy medical jokes ahead.
There's no better way to celebrate my roommate's emancipation from the yoke of medicine, i.e. taking his USMLE step 2, than to consume the very organs that he's been so diligently studying. Takashi isn't your everyday yakiniku. It is infinitely more interesting than the cookie-cutter Korean BBQ places you find in Koreantown, and although its "regular" meat selection is not as extensive as Gyu-kaku's, it makes up for exotic cuts/organs that are fresh enough to be offered raw. We tried 2 raw dishes and grilled the rest.
Raw Hatsu (heart). Yes, we did it Indiana Jones style, and the heart was still beating when presented to us. Just kidding! The texture and flavor were extremely similar to that of tuna sushi to my surprise. The raw heart was probably a tiny, tiny bit firmer.
Raw Namagimo (liver) served with sesame oil, roasted rock salt and Shiso (Perilla) leaf. Interesting, the texture of each piece changed with each bite: first it was soft, then it became tougher. I wondered if the "soft" part was parenchyma and the "tough" part the liver capsule. Let's hope the cow wasn't a dirty whore with Fitz-Curtis-Hugh Syndrome. The slightly metallic taste of raw liver contrasted very well with the minty Shiso leaf.
Beef tongue. Look at how thick the cut was. Takashi offered us the best/ thickest part of the tongue, and it tasted as fantastic as any piece of beef tongue could ever be- slightly crunchy in texture with loads of flavor. It was the best dish of the night, giving me a food orgasm.
Shoulder with Ponzo sauce. The meat itself was fine but the Ponzo sauce was a bit too sour and overwhelming.
Shibire (sweatbread). This was actually the thymus. I ordered it in hopes of curing my "abnormal face" that came with CATCH-22. I wasn't sure if it worked or not, but at least now there are a few more T-cells circulating in my body. This dish was fantastic! The outside was slightly crunchy/crispy, while the inside had the consistency of a cross between tofu and fish balls. It went so well with white rice.
Mino (1st stomach). Often referred to the "king of stomachs" (a cow has 4), it was chewy with a very mild flavor.
Tetchan (large intestines). Not pictured here. This was more chewy than the 1st stomach but had more flavor, due to the fat attached to it. We spent 5 minutes debating what the fat should be called. Was it part of the "teniae coli"? Or was it part of the "greater omentum"? We settled on calling it "peri-serosal fat."
Along with the food, Takashi also served 3 house-made dipping sauce: soy and wasabi, green-tea salt, and ginger and spring scallions. They were all delicious and complimented the various cuts of meat in different ways. I seldom visit a particular restaurant twice, since the list of restaurants in NYC that I crave to try out is longer than Harrison's. However, I think I may have to visit Takashi soon for a "sloppy third." Next time, I will definitely have to try the Niku-Uni (chuck flap topped with sea urchin), the most expensive item on the menu. Special props to Matt P., who had never had raw meat before but came along and tried everything with us anyways.
456 Hudson Street, NYC, New York