Sake Bar Hagi on 49th street in Mid-town New York City was one of my favorite Izakaya in the City and I was quite sad when it closed in early 2018. Somehow it took me a long time to visit its sister restaurant, Sake Bar Hagi 46 on Restaurant Row in Hell’s Kitchen, but I finally made it over there. Hagi 46 doesn’t have the subterranean allure of the original location but the interior decor is quite interesting. The walls are lined with Japanese movie posters for Hollywood films from the eighties and in the back there are several record players that play records in the vertical position. The menu is as extensive as I recall from the original and their Mentai Fried Rice tasted just as excellent as I remember it being in Mid-town.
The Dumplings: Hagi 46 serves shrimp shumai, pork gyoza and Takoyaki, the latter two of which we tried. The Takoyaki came fully adorned with Japanese Kewpie mayo, brown sauce, slivered scallion, and bonito flakes with a side of Japanese pickles. The roux inside of the Takoyaki was incredibly smooth and creamy with a nugget of crunchy octopus embedded in the middle. They were better than the ones I recall from the Mid-town location and were so delicious we skipped ordering the Shumai and got a second order of Takoyaki. The pork gyoza are house made and came served on a sizzling cast iron skillet. The finely minced pork and scallion filling was very flavorful and the bottoms of the gyzoa had been seared nicely. They did not look at all burned, but I found them to have a slight acrid burned taste, I am not sure if this was from the gyoza ingredients or contact with the sizzling skillet. This was not my favorite dish of the night.
The Location: Sake Bar Hagi 46 is on Hell’s Kitchen’s restaurant row which is 46th street between 8th and 9th avenues. This strip of restaurants gets really crowded with tourists coming to see Broadway shows, so plan your meal for 5pm when the restaurant opens and enjoy their happy hour or come after the first curtain call.