escargot-style cow’s balls? calf’s brain? meat “sashimi” with sea urchin roe on top? why the heck not, right? this is one of the things i find truly exciting about new york — the prospect of discovering/trying/loving something new.
when my friends E and M suggested takashi NYC for our dinner date last week, i was intrigued. being an unabashed carnivore, i found the all-beef, all-the-time menu extremely appealing. and as somebody who doesn’t shy away from offal (hello, kilayin), i looked forward to its more “exotic” offerings.
we started off with the niku-uni, a colorful creation that starts with a small seaweed sheet, a piece of shiso leaf, a slice of raw beef (chuck flap) and is topped with uni, or sea urchin roe. fresh wasabi is served with it and you can either dip the whole thing in the accompanying soy sauce and toss it in your mouth, or you can enjoy it piece by piece, savoring the flavors separately. i’m generally impatient when it comes to food, i went with the first option 😛 i’m not really sure what i expected; before that night, i’d never had uni or raw beef. the flavors were very delicate. the beef was tender, silky, almost buttery. it didn’t taste like meat at all. the uni was creamy and rich, with just a hint of a metallic taste (something that reminded me of other “puga,” such as that of catfish).
then we had bone marrow and crawfish dumplings. i imagine these dumplings (meatballs, really) were cooked beforehand, but after the server placed the dish on the table, she poured a hong kong-style hot peanut oil sauce on it (you saw that on the video). now here’s the thing, the dumplings were really tasty but i wonder how much bone marrow was left. because as you and i know, the marrow easily turns to fat the longer it’s cooked.
next up was the calf’s brain cream, served with blinis (thin pancakes) and caviar. the brain, served in what looked like a white toothpaste tube with a drawing of a brain outside, reminded me of cheese, with the caviar providing the salty kick. it was very good, but it’s not an entirely new experience. pig’s brain in noodle soup was a big part of our childhood.
but the next dish is definitely something new for everybody at that table: testicargot. i was very much willing to try it because i love anything escargot-style. i wasn’t disappointed. the testicles actually didn’t have much flavor. it was like eating a slightly nutty meatball 😛 the garlic shiso butter sauce really makes the dish. after we finished the balls, we began wiping the small platter with the blinis because we didn’t want the sauce to go to waste. we ended up asking for white rice to soak it up, HA HA HA. so those were the appetizers. this post is long enough so i’ll save the “tongue experience” (get your mind off the gutter!) for the next one.