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Daily Slice: Sake Bar Hagi's Tempura Pizza
Daily Slice gives a quick snapshot each weekday of a different slice or pie that the folks at the Serious Eats empire have enjoyed lately.
Sometimes I think it's enough to show you all a picture and simply write, This exists. So, friends, This tempura pizza at Sake Bar Hagi exists.
You'd think this thing would be a gut bomb, but the tempura pizza at Sake Bar Hagi ($4.50) is ethereally light, crisp, and remarkably ungreasy. I've long thought the Japanese are the best at deep-frying things, so I guess this should come as no surprise. And if you've ever had good tempura, you'll know what I mean.
I'm not quite sure if it's worth seeking out on its own—unless you're curious. I mean, I can't say it really tasted like pizza. There was a hint of tomato flavor, maybe some cheese, but it was overwhelmingly bready. It might be worth trying, though, if you find yourself at Hagi anyway.
And it's only a matter of time before you'll find yourself there. The place is so crowded most of the time that it seems like half of NYC is drinking there. (Especially after the Times blew it up in an old $25 and Under column.)
If you haven't been, Hagi is a sort of hidden izakaya below street level on West 49th Street. It's on that stretch of 49th near Seventh Avenue that's got a lot of Japanese joints on it. Hagi is a bit hidden. There's no real sign on the door. Just look for the address, and go downstairs. You'll know you're in the right place when you finally see the name on the lower door (pictured above). It's near the ramen joint Sapporo. SENY's Zachary Feldman has a pretty great rundown on what to expect here.
As is the custom with izakaya, it's small plates and lots of drinkin' and more small plates to soak up the drinkin'. The perfect environment to say, What the hell? and try tempura pizza.
Sake Bar Hagi
152 West 49th Street, New York NY 10020 (near Seventh Avenue; map)