Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hagi Sake Bar

I needed to find a place that was fun that served good food and alcohol. Lady Lollipop and Mr. Peanut Head wanted to get together. They're always a good time. We were planning on meeting up after work around me, Midtown. So I scoured some of my favorite blogs and sites and found Hagi. It received relatively good reviews. Most importantly, the alcohol flowed and the food was a good pair with drinking. This izakaya was deemed more authentic than others. When I arrived first at 5:45pm, the entrance was marked by a small doorway that said Sake Bar above. It led to stairs down to the cellar. Once there you can see the small area around the bar and some cramped tables. Ah, this is what Asian dining is all about. The place was quite full already. We scored the last table. They converted a two top for the three of us. No biggie. We devoured a large amount of food. I would describe the food as Japanese tapas. But good thing we can eat! And prices were decent. Fried Fatty Pork: fat + meat + fried = yum! Kalbi (Korean marinated beef short ribs): always good! Yaki Udon: Noodles with pork and vegetables in yaki-soba sauce Yakitori skewers: (from left to right): pork belly (like thick bacon!), chicken skin (not crisp enough), duck (kind of gamey), chicken meatball (bland), quail egg (the yolks melt in your mouth!) Grilled Yellowtail Collar: a strong fish taste but not fishy. Surprisingly delicious! Fried Chicken Gizzards: Chewy and filling Okonomi-Yaki (Pork and Cabbage pancake): a Japanese staple The food was really good. I wouldn't normally eat this stuff without drinking. It's mostly meaty and fatty. They just pair well together. But we were there for 3 hours and they didn't in the least try to have us leave. Some parties were there for even longer. In the end, with all the food and drinks (6 shoju sours, 1 pitcher of beer)our bill came out to be ~$96. I was stuffed and buzzed. I really liked this place. It's not pretentious at all. It gets really packed though. You'll also find Japanese families and business men there. But most of all, you'll find people who just want to have a good time. Don't mind the staff which can be a little inattentive and slow. I've witnessed a lot of this in plenty of Asian restaurants here and in Asia. It's just how they work.

Hagi Sake Bar 152 W 49th Street New York, NY 10019 (212) 764-8549

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