Sunday, June 15, 2008

TA~KE Korean Restaurant Albany, NY

Recently I came back from a trip to New York City where I spent a day eating all sorts of different cuisines from various Asian cultures. I stopped at a few restaurants in Koreatown and was throughly impressed with many of the dishes I tried. I had thought that the only place I would be able to get decent Korean food would be in NYC or some other major city, however, a few days ago I had the pleasure of finding a great place right near my hometown that features a wonderful menu of traditional Korean dishes named TA~KE.

TA~KE is an interesting restaurant concept. Not only do they feature a diverse Korean menu, but they also feature a Japanese sushi bar, as well as a number of Japanese cooking tables. Although I found the mix of the two culturally at odds, the majority of people wouldn't realize that fact and would just enjoy the great food offered by the restaurant. On the day I went, I was looking for Korean cuisine, so I opted out of any of the Japanese dishes. Just to note though, the cooking tables looked great and the fish in the sushi case looked superbly fresh. The restaurant is broken up into two sections, the Japanese cooking table to the room on the right and the main dining room to the left where the Korean menu is served. The room was decorated minimally, with a full-bar and sushi bar to the back of the room. There were a number of flat-screen TVs attached to the upper portions of the walls, which seems to be popular in many Asian restaurants these days.

I was greatly promptly at the door and was brought to a table toward the edge of the room. As I had decided to dine at 3:30 in the afternoon, I was the only person in the dining room and as such was personally waited on by one of the chefs which was an asset to the experience. The menu was very diverse, featuring numerous Korean BBQ dishes, as well as numerous meat and vegetable dishes. There are even a few vegetarian options for those of the herbivore persuasion. The menu was printed in both Korean and English which is always a good sign as it means Koreans in the area are likely dining here on a regular basis. Although I knew many of the dishes on the menu, I opted for the chefs suggestion with a note that I love traditional Korean cuisine and love the spicy stuff.

He suggested I go with the traditional pork BBQ, as it would give me a chance to try not only the BBQ, bot also a variety of kimch'i that they make in house, along with some other vegetable side-dishes. Each meal comes with a bowl of miso soup, although an odd beginning for a Korean meal, as this restaurant was a fusion of Japanese cuisine and Korean cuisine in one room, that said the soup was very good. The entree was traditionally set in front of me, with pieces of sliced highly-seasoned pork, grilled with peppers and some other vegetables and served on a sizzling hot sizzle platter. Appropriately placed to the back of the sizzling meat were two types of cabbage kimch'i, then to the right a pickled bean sprout salad and shredded Korean radish. The traditional lettuce leaves for putting all the ingredients in were also on the table, along with a small bowl of steamed short-grain rice.

To eat Korean BBQ, you take any desired amount of the ingredients and put them into a lettuce leaf, roll it up and eat it sort of like a poorly wrapped burrito. The food was utterly amazing, on par with some of the better Korean food I have had in major cities. I wish I could've had a personal hibachi to cook my BBQ at the table, but this was the next best thing, I'll save the personal cooking for my next trip to NYC.

My service was great, very personable and added to the experience. The chef waiting on me was from Korea and was excited to talk to me about the food and even brought me out some other types of kimch'i to try. I would go back here in a heart beat. The entrees are all under $20.00 with a number of them close to the $10.00 mark. I look forward to being a regular at TA~KE Restaurant.

TA~KE Restaurant
500 Northern Blvd.
Albany, NY

Phone: 518-465-5511

Website: none


paradigmq said...

i told you so! ;-p

Genie said...

Oh, awesome experience! I've been dying to make some kimchi. My mom used to make it and I wouldn't even try it back then. But now I think I'm ready. And since there are no fabulous Korean restaurants around me... I'll have to make it myself if I want to try it!

Christopher Allen Tanner said...

Kimch'i is great to make at home. There are a couple books you can find on that are full of recieps and wonderful historical information on Kimch'i as well.

Genie said...

I actually have a book of Tsukemono (Japanese pickling). So far I've only made Ninniku Hachimitsu-zuke--garlic pickled in honey. Goes great in our stir-fry sauce. But it has several kim chee (as it's written in the book) recipes and I'm eager to adapt them to what we have available here in southwest Texas! What might make a good substitute for daikon, do you think?

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