I had meant to hit up the Indonesian food bazaar in my neighborhood, but to my dismay when I checked the website before I headed out, I learned it had been rescheduled to a later date. Since I had already made plans to hang out with TL though, I suggested that we head to the nearby Socrates Sculpture Park instead.
It ended up being one of the most surprising days in my summer. Having only really met TL a few weeks earlier, I was delighted to discover that he has as much of a wandering spirit as I do. Over the course of an afternoon—one which turned into evening, and then night—we made our way on foot all around Socrates and Rainey Park, across the bridge to Roosevelt Island, onto the tram which took us to Manhattan, into and around FAO Schwartz, and then eventually to Midtown West, whereupon we decided it was time to feed ourselves.
I'd been to Sake Bar Hagi a few other times, and while the food has never been knock-your-socks-off, it's always been comfortable and pretty decent. It's a good place for cheap and casual Japanese food. After a brief wait we settled in and chose three dishes, the first of which was a daikon and fried baby sardine salad. The heaping pile of teeny, crunchy fish paired with the daikon matchsticks was still hot, which meant the salad had a refreshing and pleasant contrast of warm, crisp, briny, and cool.
Unfortunately the salad ended up being the highlight of the meal. The spicy cod roe spaghetti, which I'd had at Hagi before, was thick with mayonnaise and barely spicy. I remember it having been prepared in a thinner cream sauce the last time I'd ordered it, but that night the dish was overwhelmingly gloppy and heavy.
Similarly disappointing was the okonomiyaki, which was leaden and practically gluey inside. After sampling a piece each, both TL and I concluded that the rest wasn't worth it. The food at Sake Bar Hagi wasn't awesome that day, but others had plates on their tables that I was eyeing, such as the shrimp with chili sauce and some fried items, so maybe I'll still come back sometime.
Post-dinner our wanderings didn't end, though they only took us as far as Rockefeller Plaza before we made our way back to Astoria where we both live. It seemed wise to save our energy for more adventures another day.
Sky's the limit….