Where I Was
Taka, Asbury Park, NJ
Wednesday, October 22, 2:22 p.m.
Where I Sat
I sat with my back to a lounge-y area with short, built-in benches, stools, and small cocktail tables. It was the perfect, cozy spot to settle in for cocktails on date night.
Who Served Me
Jason, who at first seemed a bit too busy to care, then unleashed a recommendation that’s no longer available on the menu and my opinion of him went straight to a 10!
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
“I have to say, I love the Yamaguchi roll, which is awesome, but the Jun-San is the most popular roll on the menu, by far.”
The Vibe and My Vantage Point
I love the decor as it’s simple and combines mediums with great touches of color. The space has great light by day or night. The bulbous glass lighting fixtures against the geometric dominance of the dining tables in the area and the grid-like wall that holds large barrels containing Japanese lettering bring a nice energy. The graphic and vibrant Japanese art on the back wall add to the glory of the space. The bar has an electrifying energy, while the dining room is a bit more serene. I really appreciate the range of seating options within the bar area and just love the place settings popping with bright orange linen napkins. It just sparks joy!
What Quenched My Thirst
Spicy Rosarita, $14
Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh blood orange, and muddled jalapeño
A well-blended cocktail that wasn’t totally original was a bit of magic when the muddled jalapeño blended together with the sweet-tart of the blood orange notes. The drink certainly passed for delicious, so I ordered a second.
What Fed My Soul
Tuna Tataki, $12
Thin-sliced, seared, peppered tuna served with a ponzu sauce
Crazy fresh. So simple. The tuna was velvety in texture and the flavor the perfect depth. I liked the peppercorn crust which added a perfect crunch of flavor. The ponzu mystifies me a bit. Perhaps my palate isn’t that sophisticated after all. I found the ponzu a little flat even though generously garnished with scallions. Truth be told, the tuna needed nothing–it was delicious naked!
Tuna, avocado, salmon, yellowtail, scallion and tempura crunch with spicy mayo and caramelized soy sauce
Another delightful choice of roll; it’s no wonder it’s the fan-fave on the menu. The chunks of fish with avocado inside and the layers outside are always a welcome roll approach. The crunch was a nice juxtaposition against the smooth avocado inside. I really appreciated the mix of spicy mayo and caramelized soy. More, please!
What’s on Tap
Approximately five beers on tap; taps down at the time of my visit.
Limited offerings. Please call as selections change.
Champagne and Sparkling
Zonin Prosecco, Italy $10
Laurent Perrier Champagne, France $17
Underwood, Oregon, $11
Whispering Angel, France, $16
Cavaliere D’Oro, Italy, $9
Esperto, Italy, $10
Barone Fini, Italy $11
Makara, New Zealand, $10
Nobilo, New Zealand, $11
Domaine de la Perriére Sancerre, France, $15
50 Degree Riesling, Germany, $11
Day Wines, California, $13
Parker Station, California, $11
J. Lohr, California, $11
Josh Cellars, California, $12
Francois Labet, France, $14
Paolo Saracco, Italy, $14
Bieler “Born to Run,” California, $10
BV Coastal Estates, California, $11
Feudi Principi di Butera, Italy, $12
Daou, California, $14
Ferrari Carano Merlot, California, $13
Af by Achavel-Ferrer Malbec, Argentina, $12
Viña Zorzal, Spain, $14
What Else to Know
Taka is in its 19th year. Behind the concept and business: Takahiro Hirai, whose passionate vision was born from his years as a sushi chef working for Kessler’s Catering in Elberon. In fact, the owners helped Hirai make the move to his own spot and helped fund his first Taka location. The restaurant is open for lunch, featuring daily specials from 12 to 3 p.m., and dinner. They’re also available for large groups, private affairs, and parties.
When to Show
Monday through Thursday, and Sundays: 12:00 to 10:00 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays: 12:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Know Before You Go!
Check the website for the latest intel.
660 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
A Lady Walks into a Bar™ is owned and trademarked by Gabrielle Garofalo.