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Oct 16, 2007 01:19 PM

TAKAMI - disappointment

Mrs. Cookie and I went to Takami Sushi Bar and Robata for the first time recently. I had high hopes we would find a sophisticated new Japanese restaurant downtown.

First impressions: Nice view, friendly staff.

Lasting impressions: Amazingly mediocre food.

The tuna in the sashimi salad was tasteless, and the rest of the fish was just OK. Plus, the salad came with florets of an unidentified paste/garnish in three different colors. We had to ask our waiter about them -- he explained they consisted of mashed potatoes mixed with different ingredients to flavor them. Not a bad idea, but why didn't he explain this to us when he brought the salad?

The robata (grilled skewers) were disappointing. One, eggplant, came with three pieces, two of which were undercooked. The chicken "meatball" was overly salty, but OK. The asparagus was OK. The duck breast was fatty AND chewy, virtually inedible.

The Pop Art Crab, one of the restaurant's specialty dishes, was forgettable -- dull flavors.

So much for my high hopes. Nice view, though -- next time I'll limit myself to enjoying it over a drink.

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  1. I don't think Takami tries to position itself as a sophisticated Japanese restaurant, it's more "fun" or "trendy" in the same vein as Koi, Geisha House et al. Definitely a see-and-be-seen sort of place. I agree with you, the food is disappointing and very overpriced.

    1. I think Takami is jaw-droppingly overpriced.

      That Pop Art Crab, which the waiters always recommend to patrons, is just a silly mess of mediocrity. They should try to be less cute and more focused on the food.

      Ahem, can you tell I don't like the place? :)

      7 Replies
      1. re: Clare K

        I agree with you totally on the overpriced aspect. Reviews, including the one in the LA Times, made this place sound like one of the next new hot places. It aint.

        1. re: Mr. Cookie

          Huh? The LA Times review of this place was pretty bad too -- the rave was for the scene, but the food got mostly rants (which is not that common for the usually reserved S. Irene). Its conclusion: "go for a drink . . . and the view."


          1. re: AquaW

            Virbila's review was mixed, I'll grant you. But phrases like "stakes its claim to be the latest glam spot," "stick to basics," chef "had a handle on what appeals to the trendy set" gave me hope. I mean, I stuck to basics, and they were terrible. Guess I'll pay more attention to her cutting comments next time.

            1. re: Mr. Cookie

              Words like "latest glam spot" and "trendy set" are usually indicative of a place being more about the scene than the food. It's fine for a few drinks and an appetizer or 2, if only for the view.

              1. re: hrhboo

                yeah, i shoulda known. but Geisha and Koi are glam spots and their food has gotten favorable reviews. i haven't been to either one so i wouldn't know.

                Sushi Roku on Beverly is sort of a glam spot and if you stay away from the plain sushi, its food can be pretty good.

                i heard the food at the new Katsu-Ya at Hollywood and Vine is pretty good, too. now THAT's a place destined to be a glam spot...

                1. re: Mr. Cookie

                  Irene Virbila's reviews are not that dead-on anyway (to me).

                  1. re: littlefrenchgirl

                    she's pretty good overall, I think, but one of her glaring weaknesses is sushi. she just doesn't get it. i shoulda factored that in before i went to Takami for a forgettable meal.