Posted by: Hungry Korean | July 13, 2010

Early bird catches the worm

I dunno what my thing is but I’ve been on a major Japanese kick lately. Probably the summer heat? Or maybe it’s that I gorge myself on meat and bbq all weekend in the summer and during the week try to lighten up the load with some lighter fare.

Either way, met Scarf for dinner last night. We both agreed that our original plan to go to Ssam (and it’s meat heavy menu) was out and that something lighter was a must given that he had been eating and drinking up the wazoo with the World Cup and I ate my fill of steak and hot dogs over the weekend.

We met at Takahachi in Alphabet City. It’s well known for their great Japanese grill food and fresh sushi. They also have a location in TriBeca.  Word to the wise, no ressies can be had here so go early because a wait is ALWAYS inevitable.

At 7pm we were seated right away. (FYI by 8 the crowds were lining up.) As we sat there perusing the menu we noticed the huge delicious looking bento boxes of the patrons next to us. It was the Early Bird Special (5-7pm daily). We just squeezed in. Here is what $17 bucks get you:

Miso soup and salad in a soy based dressing (versus the thicker and creamier carrot ginger dressing served everywhere else).

It was hot out and I was so hungry I first ate the soup (which put me into further sweats) and then the salad with the soy based dressing. Have to say, I prefer that dressing. It’s a little more acidic versus sweet.

Then came our Early Bird Bentos. Everything is chef’s choice except you do get a choice of sushi or sashimi. I opted for the latter.

Let’s go clockwise starting upper left – the fresh sashimi. SO fresh! Tuna, salmon and fluke. Moving on you got four different types of Japanese skewers (hard to see) but they were: chicken meatball (dry and my least favorite), teriyaki steak (meaty and tasty but chewy), fish cake meatball (good but not stellar – a dense meatball coated in carmelized teriyaki) and asparagus.  The bottom right is shiso marinated shredded daikon (eh), then an egg custard (again eh, slightly sweet), some picked radishes (probably to cut the salt and grease of the grilled meats) and the far bottom left is a fried scallop with some spicy sauce (the sauce was totally delicious).

The meal is rounded out with a choice of ice cream – I got green tea and Scarf got red bean.

I have to say that’s a great deal for the price but I was underwhelmed by the bento. Aside from the delicious fresh sashimi and that one scallop, everything else just tasted like filler – added on side veggies to make the bento look like a great value. Eh. Next time, I’m going to stick to their sushi and exotic grilled options. The sashimi left me wanting more.

Takahachi, 85 Avenue A, New York, NY

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