If it’s midnight on Capitol Hill and your stomach is growling like an N64 controller’s rumble pack, your options are shockingly limited to pizza slice windows or hot dog carts. Those have their place, but if you need substance during the wee hours of the morning that isn’t a Polish link slathered in cream cheese, there’s always Taku. While this Japanese karaage spot is useful to know about, the chicken here will do for a desperate 1am snack—otherwise, no there's no need to go out of your way to eat here.
The karaage comes in chunky thigh pieces known as “thicc nugs,” and they’re pretty good, even though they tend to be on the dry and tough side. We use them mostly as vehicles for Taku’s incredible yum yum sauce, a savory mayo packed with sesame flavor that makes everything delicious. In fact, we'd order extra bonito-coated furikake fries just for the stuff. If you’re looking for something more filling than fried potatoes, we find the karaage sandwich to be much better than the chicken by itself, thanks to tartar sauce, tart pickles, and spicy habanero powder jazzing up the dredge.
Between all the chicken and Taku's crowded but not rowdy atmosphere, it's a good stop for a snack and the evening’s final beer. We'll still give the edge to the Seattle dog though.
On a good day, the karaage is solid, especially when heavily dipped in their yum yum sauce. But we’ve found that they’re typically a little dry. More reason to load up on yum yum sauce.
Spicy Chicken Sando
Three hunks of karaage on a soft burger bun, along with slaw, tartar, pickles, and habanero powder. The addition of acid, spice, and bread makes the sandwich a better choice than nuggs, but be warned that it's logistically difficult to eat, as the chicken might fall out if you don't have a strong grip.
The delicious shoestring potatoes here are sprinkled (read: absolutely showered) with furikake and bonito flakes. They’re smoky, salty, pleasantly fishy, and will disappear fast. Oh well, time to order more.