After being through an arson fire that shut the restaurant down for months and a name change after accusations of insensitivity, Takoi is back and better than ever. It’s a small, funky restaurant with Asian cuisine and reservations only for the Chef’s Table. It exemplifies Detroit resurgence and I was thrilled to finally have the chance to check it out a few weeks ago.
We arrived a few minutes before the restaurant opened and joined the line of people waiting to land a table. Without Dad spotting the restaurant, we never would have found the unmarked, nondescript building with a giant fence surrounding it and a shipping container providing additional seating on weekends.
Once inside, the vibe is super cool with colorful neon lights that I loved. So different from any restaurant I have ever been to. Once our entire party arrived we were seated at a rather small table for our group of five but we made it work.
Because there were five of us and I have been dying to try Takoi, we ordered kinda sorta just about everything on the menu.
I’ll start with the vegetable dishes, of which there are many on the menu. I really enjoyed seeing different ways the vegetables were prepared, from frying to charring. They were also served with vastly different accompaniments with the different uses of nuts being my favorite.
I had been dying to try the som tum thai, a green papaya salad. It was super refreshing and acidic, which I loved, and the crunch of the peanuts was fab. It was presented with sticky rice, and as someone who doesn’t eat rice very often, it totally won me over in one bite. However, the rice appeared on the bill as a separate charge. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t have ordered it myself. I would have, and I would order it again on return visits, but no one likes surprises on the bill.
The beets were tender and not at all beet-y. Eggplant isn’t my thing, but it was a hit, as was the charred broccoli. I meant to order the fried cauliflower, but totally forgot. Carrots are one of the trendiest restaurant dishes these days, but Takoi’s weren’t my favorite, which really surprised me. The sauce seemed very heavy and coated my palate too much.
Moving onto the protein dishes, we just had to try the egg roll and it was by far the best I have ever had. The slightly spicy interior full of short rib along with the perfectly fried crispy exterior was a match made in heaven, and when paired with the mustard dipping sauce – OMG! I want a bottle of that sauce. The fried rice was equally as good. Full of wild shrimp and egg, I am still thinking about that dish.
A giant bowl of super comforting boat noodles with rice noodles, pork belly, meatballs, and the most comforting broth was awesome. I can imagine diving into that any crummy winter day. The other noodle dish we tried was a hit, but not quite as much. It had ham that was a little too fatty and was in general a much heavier dish. Lamb meatballs in a flavorful, but not spicy, curry were a nice diversion from all the spice we had. Not that I minded the spice – it was perfect.
Finally, we tried the short ribs, the only real disappointment of the night. Once we got around the gristle, the meat itself was tough. The waitress was nice enough to remove them from the bill, given we returned them to the kitchen relatively untouched. I also had the fried snapper, which I loved, leaving only the head, which I tore apart to remove the meat, and the spine. Everything else was devoured including the herbs and sauce that was reminiscent of the glorious egg roll sauce. Christina, one of the managers, I think, was super nice and complimented my conquering of the snapper and gave me a follow on Instagram. Thank you!!!
Overall, I was super impressed with Takoi. The atmosphere is fun, the food is awesome, and the service is great. They have tons of food runners who make sure the food arrives at the table piping hot. If you are in the Detroit area, Takoi is a must try. Now excuse me while I try to replicate that egg roll sauce.