Posted 17th September 2012 by Chris Chu
Recently I heard that a new Japanese restaurant had opened in the nabe so Saturday nite a couple of buddies and I checked out the new joint named TAKESUSHI.
The place is definitely a real Japanese restaurant. The owner is Japanese, the wait staff is Japanese, the sushi chefs are older Japanese men and a good majority of the customers were Japanese. Interestingly enough, after doing some research I discovered that this place used to be located in Manhattan and it seemed like it had been around for over 30 years! Don’t know how the joint ended up in Queens; guess I’ll have to go back and find out.
Anyways..I talked my buddies into ordering a Kaiseki dinner with me instead of a la carte items; not sure if they truly enjoyed it. Quick lesson…Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course dinner that is supposed to capture the blend of art & food. Each small dish is supposed to be a balance of taste, texture, appearance, and color of food which is supposed to be represented in the artful plating, arranging and garnishing of the food served. An integral part of creating this art is also utilizing the freshest ingredients possible and preparing them in a way that really showcases that freshness! What we had was an interesting attempt at that.
We had 7 dishes in all; miso soup, burdock & carrots, miso cod, sashimi, sushi, soft shell crab tempura and beef tataki. First off let me say that the dishes were all decent (back to that in a moment!) but definitely the artistry was lacking. I didn’t get anything presented to me that made me think “look at the artistry involved in this dish”, but rather dishes were simply plated with the most basic of garnishes (think any cheap local Japanese joint that serves terriyaki, tempura and any other ubiquitous dish you can think of).
The dishes that did stand out in my mind were the burdock & carrots (nice cold salad with a great hint of rice wine vinegar), the miso cod (grilled perfectly, a wonderful sweet miso glaze and an awesome char on the skin of the fish!), sashimi (the tuna, salmon and 2 others I can’t remember were extremely fresh and barely needed any soy or wasabe) and finally the beef tataki (thinly sliced, nice sear on the outside, garnished with chives and some other micro-greens and finished with a sweet soy and vinegar sauce). The soup, sushi and crab where OK but nothing really to write home about. I think the problem is that there were TOO many seafood dishes; it would have been nice to have another vegetable dish or another protein dish say pork or chicken.
Bottom line is the Kaiseki was interesting to try and it skirts the boundary of being worth $45.00 per person. The service was decent but I think the place is definitely suffering from some growing pains. I think once the restaurant has found its rhythm it will be a much better place to visit for dinner.