Friday, June 24, 2011

Takashi

I guess Erica and I need to eat out more because it took us six months to find another restaurant serving 4 Star meals (Maude's Liquor Bar). We went to Takashi this week and indulged on their 6-course tasting menu to celebrate my birthday (again but privately) as well as my return to the working world. It should be no surprise that a Michelin Star restaurant is fantastic and one of the best meals we've had in town, but it's even better when great reviews and awards are validated on the plate. It's a "cute" and tiny space built out of an old house, with two floors of dining. Erica noticed the grey and white paint and wants to copy it in our apartment now. Our server and staff also were top notch and performed on the same the level as the chef and food. The entire dining experience is very well coordinated and thought out with delicious food as the star attraction. An added bonus is that we ate during a large thunderstorm which only adds to the romantic and "at home" setting.

Takashi is described as Asian influenced French/American style cuisine. I agree completely and think it's a unique angle that no one else can perform. The menu is large enough to have options but not overwhelming that you lose focus. Since we were in a celebratory mood and didn't' want to have to choose, we ordered the six course tasting menu ($69). There's a wine pairing offered but we weren't that thirsty. The courses were an amuse bouche, Carpaccio of big eye tuna, ceviche (shrimp, squid, hokkaido scallops and octopus), sauteed maine scallop and soba gnocchi, pork belly, roasted duck, and The Egg. There are no substitutions allowed, but we were lucky and the chef allowed Erica to swap out the duck for skate wing.





The amuse bouche was lightly seasoned salmon with ricotta cheese and greens. At first it was a little underwhelming and bland, but reflecting back on the entire meal it was exactly the right mixture of subtle flavoring and just enough to awake the palate for the show that followed. One of my favorite courses was the tuna carpaccio. I love raw tuna and this was divine - served with a umami soy and sesame oil dressing with cabbage and pickled gobo. The tuna melted in your mouth and all the flavors worked in harmony. The portion was plenty big but I could have ordered and finished about 10 more (something to remember for a la carte ordering)


The third course was Erica's least favorite, but that doesn't mean it wasn't tasty (kind of got scared of the octopus :). The serving is ceviche of shrimp, squid, hokkaido scallops and octopus in a sweet and light citrus broth. There's a lot going on in the plate, but the flavors are crisp and light. You almost feel cheated by the first few courses since they are not too large and straightforward, but it's all part of the overall progression of the meal.


If the ceviche was Erica's least favorite, the scallop and gnocchi was her most favorite. The presentation is fun with celery root-parmesan foam hiding the show. Underneath is a delicious sauteed Maine scallop served with soba gnocchi and trumpet royale mushrooms. I loved the scallop and gnocchi combination and couldn't get enough of the creamy cheesy sauce. I'm not a huge mushroom fan, and these were quite strong, but they fit the dish and complemented the other parts well. It's another menu item I would highly recommend a la carte.


My favorite dish of the night was the pork belly. Usually I don't order pork belly so I was curious what would arrive. What we got was a make your own steamed bun pork belly sandwich. The soy-ginger caramel sauce was divine and I loved the steamed bun with a hint of wasabi. The pickled daikon salad is also a great addition and made my "sandwich" complete. You only get two but I certainly would have consumed 10. The best pork belly dish I've ever had.


If there was a main course I guess it was the roasted Indiana duck breast and seared quebec foie gras. Again, I'm not a huge duck or foie gras fan, but this was quite tasty. It's served with candied kumquats and rhubarb in a port-huckleberry beet reduction. The duck was tender and perfectly cooked with many interesting flavors to combine it with. I also thought the presentation was beautiful as the beet juices flowed around the plate. If you forgot where Chef Takashi was formally trained, this dish would bring you back.

I only had a small bite of Erica's skate wing because she ate the rest :) From what I could tell it was a nice piece of fish with some interesting and tasty sides (proscuitto-wrapped asparagus and enoki mushroom, couscous, coriander preserved lemon vinaigrette) I always tip my hat to chefs that can make a fish entree worthy of the price and time. 


The final desert course was The Egg. It's a hollowed out egg shell with a three layer attack of milk chocolate créme brulée, maple syrup, maldon sea-salt and caramel custard foam on top. You have to be careful with the spoon not to break the egg, but the sweet flavors are a perfect way to end the meal without overwhelming the palate. Sometimes I'm in the mood for a huge desert of bread pudding or ice cream or what have you, but after five delicious and adventurous courses I want a sweet dessert but not a huge dessert. On the side are fun little blood orange macaroons. 



We had a wonderful meal, one of our best in a long time. All of the awards and accolades for Chef Takashi are well deserved and I look forward to trying his latest and future ventures. The final touch was asking for a menu to take home as keepsake, and being surprised to have our server return with an autographed copy. I look forward to returning (they have a Sunday noodle menu that looks great) and recommend everyone else looking for a delicious and special meal to put Takashi high on your list.

Takashi on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Dinner at Takashi looks just as good as brunch! Next time we attend the same restaraunt, we'll have to trade doggie bags with you ;-)

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