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Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Takahashi

Passing by this unassuming restaurant every day, and noticing that most evenings its parking lot is bulging with customer parking, my curiosity kept mounting.

Finally, last Saturday evening, my husband and I walked by this restaurant to 'check it out': maybe go in and order something if we felt up to it; else, nothing lost, we could just walk back home and have dinner at home... after all the restaurant is about 5 mins walk from home.

We were there right at opening time; they don't really take reservations, and from what I have seen, seating might be an issue especially on Saturdays.

Gawd. What a pleasant surprise it was! The exterior and entrance definitely belies the nice ambience inside: there is seating at the bar, as well as at the tables. Japanese knick-knacks, toys and art work are fairly tastefully arranged all over. Plus, each table has an orgami art instruction and paper so we have something to do while we wait for the food. Our table had the warrior helmet.

And the food was unbelievable!

I am not particularly fond of sushi or sea food. Hence, I find my choices are limited when I go to japanese restaurants - primary reason why I love to cook.

But, The Takahashi here in SE Holgate seems to specialize in Tempura and they had enough and more on the menu for me to choose from. We wanted to order the King's Dinner on the last page of the menu, but, not knowing the portions and the quality of food we decided to try a few items from the menu at a time.

Here's what we ordered with some slight, and as we found out, quite misplaced skepticism:
Tempura: kabocha, eggplant, shiitake, tofu (need i say more?) served with sweet chili sauce and miso-soy sauce
Meal: miso soup, cucumber salad, cabbage salad, potato "stew", chicken don - rice with vegetables and chicken teriyaki, chicken skewers.

Each was, to me, 'as it should be':
Miso soup was just right, just hold the bowl in your hands and drink up.
cucumber salad had the right balance of flavors, anything more, it would have been cloying.
cabbage salad was smokey - quite a surprise - just seared cabbage, not mushy, quite crunchy - not raw, with some seared onions.
potato stew was more of a clear soup with floating potato chunks and peas - but it was perfectly spiced
rice with vegetables was just the thing - usually, i end up adding soy sauce or chili sauce to chomp the rice down, but, this time, i didn't need any condiments - everything they had put in before serving it to me was spot on.
and, i gathered from my husband's silent and focused munching with a contented look that the chicken teriyaki and skewers couldn't have been better.

And the prices are quite nominal.

I know I am already planning to go back at least once a week, if not more.

Moral of the story: Don't judge a book by its cover. Or, topically, Don't judge a restaurant by its exterior. Well, actually, more like ' Don't judge The Takahashi by its exterior'.

Summary:
  • go early, seating might be a problem
  • quite kid friendly, nice to go with family
  • good food, plenty on the menu even for vegetarians
  • nice ambience, nominal price
  • lots of sushi, tempura with shrimp and what-not, for non-vegetarians

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