There are more and more restaurants proposing fusion cuisine, but it was the first time that I heard about Mexican - Japanese cuisine. That is what Taka Taka in New York City is proposing, highlighted by the sign "Japanese Cantina" above the kitchen. At first the restaurant looks like a Japanese restaurant with a conveyor belt sushi (aka Kaiten sushi). But if you pay attention, you will start noticing some Mexican touch such as the granite mortar to make guacamole!
So, for food, you have two choices: the kaiten sushi or the menu. For those who never tried Kaiten sushi, this is how it works: the kitchen prepares different sushi (no fusion at this time, the sushi were quite standard) identified by a number (Photo 1 - the description of the dish is on the table set) and put them on a conveyor belt. The color of the plate determines the price (photo 2) and once you ask for the bill, the waiter will simply add up the cost of each plate you took based on the color. It is an interesting concept and intriguing: I was constantly looking at what was passing by!
For the Mexican - Japanese fusion, you then have to check the menu: each dish will have a bit of each cuisine. On the Mexican side, you will find for instance guacamole or jalapeno and on the Japanese side, yuzu sauce or wasabi mayonnaise. Here is what we had:
- Guacamole-Tuna Tataki: diced tuna tartar with avocado, onion, cilantro, tomato and serrano chile. This was very good. I love the combination of tuna and avocado! The first time I tried was in a cafe next to the Louvre Museum in Paris. I then had it at Remi, an Italian restaurant in New York. So, nothing very particular to the Mexican-Japanese fusion for that one, although I really enjoyed this very refreshing and light dish!
- Miss Carnitas: fried tuna carnitas in a yuzu-soy marinate with guacamole and pico de gallo in corn tortillas. Good but overpriced. The tuna was slightly overcooked.
- Inclan: fried rice roll with hamachi, tuna, avocado and jicama with spicy sriracha mayonnaise. I liked it.The crunchiness of the rice added another dimension to the dish.
- Tempura Helado: tempura ice cream with strawberry sauce or melted dark chocolate. We picked the chocolate. It was very good but they were kind of cheap on the chocolate!
Concerning the service, it was weird: plates arrived one by one. It started with the tacos, then the tuna tartar, then the rolls. It was not that fast and I am wondering if it was not done this way so we would try some of the Kaiten sushi...
Although the food was not as expected (I was expecting an explosion of flavors), I would probably go back to check some other dishes. They definitely have some creativity there and some of the dishes on the menu that we did not try look appetizing.
Last, I liked their take out menu: not the traditional piece of paper as you can see below!
Enjoy (I did)!