Sake Bar Hagi
I have a day job. Like most other day jobs, there are times when it just sucks. Overworked and underpaid, with a huge side serving of stress.
It's worse when my friends are going through the same problems of being understaffed, and what's with this new generation of kids who don't want to work hard or commit? Core American values lost in a generation. But that's probably what they said about us, so...
Anyway, it was a Tuesday. We knew we wanted alcohol, and what goes better with alcohol than fatty food? It had to be an izakaya (Japanese gastropub). So we gave our livers a pep talk and made our way to a central location: Sake Bar Hagi in Midtown West. Just far enough from Times Square.
So many options. Among the three of us, I'd say we covered a decent chunk of the menu. And best of all, we only spent about $200, which included a $60 bottle of sake.
We started with the soft shell shrimp and my favorite beef tongue.
Then our next favorite: uni. Uni on clam. An uni special, which consisted of uni, cod roe, and scallops folded into nori. And of course a plain uni sashimi. The uni was creamy and sweet, with no aftertaste.
Asians that we are, we needed rice! I had a fried onigiri with spicy cod roe inside, and the boys had fried rice. I love a well fried onigiri. Crunchy on the outside, squishy on the inside, and that burst of saltiness from the cod roe. FTW!
When I was nice and toasty, they talked me into trying my first frog legs. Tastes like chicken, with a nice squeeze of lemon.
We also had hamachi, squid, and ended with chicken skin.
We've been to some lower-priced izakayas. Think Yakitori Taisho in St. Marks. It was great when you're still trying to get into places with a fake ID, but now a date with the toilet isn't ideal.
We've been to some higher-priced izakayas. Think Aburiya Kinnosuke near Grand Central. The ambience and private sections are always nice.
But all in all, considering the feel of the place, Sake Bar Hagi on 49th street is my new favorite. It's a bar. With awesome food. Exactly what we were looking for.