At Takesushi, Under-the-Radar Japanese

Takesushi, as one would surmise, is mostly about sushi. But what really grabbed E Eto’s attention was this kitchen’s sure hand with nimono, the subtle, deceptively hard-to-make Japanese simmered dishes. One with daikon radish and kabocha (pumpkin) was a recent case in point, he reports, delivering “the flavor that I’ve always wanted to approach when I cook.”

This little-discussed restaurant, occupying a Midtown space that once housed the excellent Ichimura and, most recently, the short-lived On, also specializes in kushi-age: Osaka-style skewered bites, dipped in egg and panko (breadcrumbs), then fried. “Takesushi does have a cook who’s quite the fry-master,” E Eto observes. comiendosiempre sampled pork, shrimp, and vegetable skewers, all crisp, tasty, and not at all oily.

As for the sushi, it’s quite good and sometimes surprising. Hikari-mono—shiny, silvery-skinned fish—were a strength at Ichimura; they still are at Takesushi. E Eto recommends aji (horse mackerel) and shime-saba (marinated mackerel), marked by wondrous texture and a very light dose of vinegar. And through a pipeline that bypasses Tokyo’s giant Tsukiji fish market, crossroads of Japanese seafood, Takesushi procures such relative rarities as seki-saba, a delicious variety of mackerel caught in the waters between Kyushu and Shikoku, served raw and unmarinated.

The sushi chefs are seasoned veterans, the clientele heavily Japanese. “This is not a sushi place to be revered on the levels of Yasuda or Kuruma,” E Eto writes, “but a good mid-level place flying under the radar.”

Takesushi [Midtown East]
1026 Second Avenue (between E. 54th and 55th streets), Manhattan
212-355-3557

Board Link: Takesushi, Midtown East