DRAGON $13.00 (eel, cucumber roll, avocado on the top) RAINBOW $12.00 (yellowtail roll, tuna, salmon fluke on the top) SPIDER $11.00 (fried soft shell crab, smelt roe, mayo)
TEMPURA A LA CARTE
(minimum order 2 pieces)
WHITE FISH or SHRIMP $2.50 ANY VEGETABLE $2.00
SODA $2.00 Coke, diet Coke Ginger Ale or Sprite SAN PELLEGRINO (S)$2.00 (B) $4.00 WINE white or plum $7.00 WINE red $8.00 SAKE (hot) $5.00 SPECIAL COLD SAKE ask waiter KIRIN ICHIBAN BEER 12. oz $5.00 ASAHI BEER 16. oz Can $7.00 ASAHI BEER 21.4 oz $9.00
“Creative sushi” and “excellent” Japanese home-cooking basics at a favorable “quality-to-price ratio” earn these neighborhood spots “favorite” status; a “helpful” staff adds warmth to the “nothing-fancy” setups, which “bustle” at prime times.
Every neighborhood needs a local sushi joint, and for East Villagers, it’s been Takahachi for a while now. Cheap enough to be in regular rotation, good enough to warrant happy returns, and always crowded, probably because they don’t deliver. There is a permanent “15 minute” wait, even at 11pm. Takahachi is everything you want out of your local Japanese home away from home. There are no frills, no omakase, and there aren’t even Japanese people cutting up your sushi - last time I went, we had a guy from Ecuador. What there is, however, is a large menu of reasonably priced cooked and raw things that will certainly leave you satisfied. This is not mind blowing food, this is “it’s Tuesday, and I’m hungry food.” On any given night, it’s safe to assume 75% of the restaurant are regulars. It’s that kind of spot. Everyone seems to know one another, and everyone definitely knows Mr. Takahachi himself, who works the room, shakes hands, and kisses all the babies. Good food and a personal connection, no wonder people keep coming back. Next time you need sushi in the East Village, Takahachi is the move.
Don't mistake their basement neighbor's velvet club-ropes as belonging to street-level Takahachi. Sure, on weekends, there can be a line out this veteran Japanese restaurant's door, but the warmly lit East Village oasis holds no pretensions. Light-colored wood and low, rice-paper partitions envelop a diverse, jeans-wearing (all kinds of jeans, not just the $200 kind paired with pointy shoes), largely under-40 crowd whose sometimes loud conversation—underscored by a somehow Zen-sounding techno beat—creates a pleasant buzz. Equally warm while professional is the noir-clad waitstaff, happy to explain the difference between sushi and sashimi for the thousandth time, then ceremoniously presenting orders as if announcing royalty. And with good reason: the open kitchen delivers commendably fresh (and affordable) sushi. Generously apportioned slabs of ruby-red tuna and tender eel are delicious as is the lightly sweet goma ae (steamed spinach) spiked with crushed black and white sesame seeds. Opt for maki rolls with idiosyncratic names over the classics—daily specials often include jalapeño or a splash of Tabasco, which meld exquisitely with avocado, eel and mayonnaise. When not in rolls, look past fried items; they tend to be chewy and oil-soaked. The real stars at Takahachi are the kushiyaki, skewers of meat and vegetables (okra with thick-cut bacon!), grilled to crispy, unpretentious perfection. — Colleen McKinney