1925 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, (916) 446-3118

I remember passing by the old Taki's when I first moved to Midtown years ago. It was an old dipilitated, blue Craftsman by the railroad tracks. Nothing about it appealed to me back then and I should have stuck with my instinct. I had company in town on Friday night and we decided on Mexican, but with the wait hitting about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half for two at Ernesto's, we opted to satiate our grumbling tummies elsewhere. As we drove down J Street, my friend pointed out Taki's and remarked that he had never tried Japanese food before. Noting that it was a weekend night and every place was probably packed to the gills, we ventured in. The interior was pleasant, festooned with dangly lights and draped in warm orange and red tones like a genie's bottle. We lucked out that a table had just left. The waitress motioned for us to sit down, then proceeded to clean the tabletop as we sat waiting. The tables on the perimeter are pretty cool...reminding me vaguely of futon couches and the seat was quite comfy.

The waitstaff appeared to consist of only two overwhelmed servers. A gentleman that appeared to be the owner and a friendly, petite waitress who appeared to speak very little english. We had the latter, Daisy, as our server. It took over 5 minutes to get menus and another 10 minutes before she returned to take our drink orders. She remembered to card us but appeared to forget to come back to take our dinner order. Although we were only ordering a handful of items, it took several minutes to place our order because I had to repeat the entire order four times to her. Miraculously, all the dishes that were eventually delivered to our table were correct, but to save time in the future (and exasperation on the part of the customer) I'd suggest perhaps writing down the orders the first go round.

The sushi we ordered tasted mediocre, nothing really wowed me and the rice tasted blah. The albacore appetizer tasted fishy (and not in a good way) and appeared to be cut amateurly. My dining companion seemed to like the dishes we ordered, but having no Japanese food frame of reference and having been stationed in the Middle East via the US Army, I would suppose that our meal was better than the MRE's that he was probably subjected to eating.

While my dining companion ducked out to use the restroom, I flagged down the other server (our waitress was nowhere to be found) and requested another large Sapporo for my friend. The server was quick to retrieve a bottle and advised me that it was on the house. I'm not sure why he comped it, perhaps because of the slow service? Either way it was nice of him.

I think I'm being pretty generous in giving Taki's 2 stars.The service was slow, the food average and the fish was off... but the staff's smiles were genuine and the "futon" benches were great for kicking back in to converse while knocking back a few Sapporos & Kirins.

FYI, this is not a great establishment for a date. Being practically on top of the railroad tracks, the train repeatedly chugs by, shakes the building with a Richter magnitude of 5.0 and interrupts conversations. Also, they seem to close up early for a weekend night.
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