Yesterday we spoke with Taskashi Inoue and Saheem Ali, partners and business partners at Japanese restaurant Takashi. They told us about how they met at the Roxy and gave us the lowdown on all things beef-related. Today we continue the grilling conversation and learn about Inoue’s skill in cooking Kenyan cuisine.
What’s the most essential thing a home griller should do before firing up the grill this summer?
Saheem: At the restaurant, we have this huge blackboard that goes around the length of the space that talks about different cuts of meat and gives grilling tips. The three main ones that we tell people are to make sure the grill is red-hot before you start grilling; you want to flip over the meat just when some color begins to change on the bottom and fat comes to the top; and finally, don’t keep turning the meat over and over because you’ll lose the precious juices.
Do you ever eat American-style barbecue?
Takashi: Yeah, I like American-style, too.
Do you guys grill at home? What’s the dynamic like in your kitchen there?
Takashi: We cook everything. Mostly I cook for him. Whatever, really — Japanese food, Korean, Kenyan even.
Saheem: Yeah, I’m Kenyan, so Takashi will make me Kenyan food. He has that skill — he can cook by taste. He’ll taste a dish and can figure out all the ingredients in it and replicate it.
At the restaurant you’re doing a special gay ice cream topping, right? Can you tell me about that?
Saheem: We wanted to do something special for Pride Week and give homage to it. We have a woman who makes our ice cream toppings, so for Pride, she’s making a piece of marzipan and shaping it into a heart with a rainbow on it.
What are some of your gay-friendly bars or restaurants?
Saheem: We don’t really know of any gay-friendly restaurants. But we live in Chelsea, and with the restaurants in the West Village, we’re pretty covered.
So any plans for another branch of Takashi?
Saheem: We’re really proud of the fact that we bring so much to the restaurant. I’m now back to being a theater director most of the time, but I still check in, and the restaurant is really the foundation of our relationship. Takashi wants to open another. I say, “Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.”