Monday, November 17, 2008

Yakitori Taisho

5 St. Marks Pl

I've actually been here many times, first time was after a party where everyone involved drank way too much for their own good. I was afraid my first sober experience would change how much I liked the food but luckily it's a good food joint no matter how much alcohol you've consumed.

Always start with some sake. I find it goes rather well with the food. J. swears by warm for all seasons. I like mine cold in the summer and warm in the winter. Since I'm not sake expert I just get the house sake. It is definitely better than really watery/light bottled beer anyway. I used to love Japanese beers now I think I've been spoiled by German/Belgian/American beers. 

I always get yakitori Set B, which includes chicken, chicken balls, scallion, beef, and shrimp. I really wish they had a set with just chicken (chicken chunks skewer). If you've never had yakitori, it's like a kebab but slightly tastier (I think due to the seasoning/marinate). Scallion is surprisingly good if you give it a try. 

We also ordered pumpkin tempura which was light and sweet. I'm usually not a huge fan of tempura but I was pleasantly surprised. Gyoza (fried dumplings) were fine but I can probably get a dozen or two fresh made dumplings in the Flushing dumpling stores (yes Flushing has cheap and good eats, so sue me). The rice balls at Taisho (grilled and not) come in very large portions. I don't dislike them but they're not really special. I ordered a takoyaki (octopus balls) because I missed the ones I had in Shanghai (yes, Shanghai has been taking over by Japanese street food, it's true). Unfortunately I cannot recommend the takoyaki here. Even the ones in Flushing mall may be better because they make them right there. The one funny thing I observed about takoyaki was how my friends freaked out when they saw the bonito flakes sort of move around. (they're alive!). I remember their edamame being not so great but we still managed to eat them somehow.

Never tried their dessert because I always go to Cha An teahouse around the corner. This time the teahouse was overcrowded (on a Friday) so we walked to Max Brenner's instead. They had a 2-for-1 happy hour for chocolate cocktails. 

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