At what point in a friendship is it okay to steal food out of your friends’ chopsticks in the midst of a free for all scramble?

When you find yourself lucky enough to have friends who are willing to engage in a hostile battle for food, bring them to Hagi. It’ll take you forever to find a seat, but it’ll be worth it. And that’s what we did a couple of Saturdays ago. Seven of us waited 40 minutes for a corner table. It was hot, humid, and sticky, but it was all worth it for those four pitchers of beer and intense moments where we scrambled for sustenance.

tea!  i think...

For a Japanese joint located right next to Times Square, I’d say Hagi is very fairly priced. Everything is generally around $10 or under and granted the portion sizes aren’t huge or anything, but the ambiance is great if you’re looking for a chill hangout spot. This place is like a Kenkas on St. Marks but in Midtown with a pricier tag and an older crowd. Still, I can imagine a night of drinking games or just pure good conversation with old friends at Hagi. The servers are super nice and they don’t mind if you hog the booth for hours. We realized at the very end that it’s because of people like us that we had to wait 40 minutes for a table.

outside of hagi

That’s them, sans Seth and his cousin. We sat at Hagi for three hours where I was appointed the designated food orderer. We took care of business first by ordering not one, not two, and not even three, but FOUR pitchers of beer. I was told that within those three hours, I just kept on ordering and ordering so the food just kept coming out. But when the food hit the table, all became quiet and everyone impatiently waited for me to take a shot. As soon as I gave the okay, chopsticks went flying left and right, hands were getting stabbed, and food was getting stolen right beneath our noses. Food lasted for approximately 20 seconds.


Kirin Pitcher ($12- eh for the price, but totally refreshing on a hot day)

And when you do continuously order plate after plate without regards to the check, you start racking up the final price tag. We had intended to go somewhere cheap, so it was a bit hefty that we all ended up shelling out $20+ at the end. I realized the next morning that I had ordered from so many different and random people – servers/runners/etc… that they didn’t count at least three dishes!

Deep Fried “takoyaki” 5 pieces ($6.50)

Also known as octopus. It’s a popular Japanese “dumpling” where they dice up octopus, tempura, ginger, onion and so forth. They only gave five pieces and as the self acclaimed non-seafood eater, I forewent my piece. It’s okay, really. No apologies necessary there, friends.

Neopolitan: Pork belly, ketchup, onions, soba noodles ($9)

Don’t you dare judge that dish before you try it. I think my friends were a bit hesitant when I was like, “Hey, yo, imma order the ‘neopolitan.'” Someone gave me this stare like, really?! Ketchup?!

Well what do you know. IT WAS A SMASHING HIT! The pork belly (ahem, a privileged sounding name for bacon) was ridiculously delicious. Everyone loved this so much that we ordered another one! Let me tell you. Ketchup tastes good on everything!

japanese pancake

Okonomiyaki: Japanese pancake with okonomiyaki sauce with bonito flakes  ($9.75)

This was fairly small and it came cut in four slices so I did the honors by slicing them into eight. Of course, then we ran into the problem of who’d get the extra piece. This was in the beginning of the meal when we were all civilized and well mannered people (and had only drank like 1/4th of a pint of Kirin).

I love how the bonito flakes move back and forth, as if they were dancing. It freaks alot of people out but I get mesmerized just watching the steam cause that effect. This okonomiyaki is just downright greasy but in a good way. It’s what you crave for when you don’t care about your health. Come to think of it, it’s what you crave for when you’re drunk.

Thumbs up (bigger would be nicer though).

Seafood Yakisoba: Octopus and all, cabbage, scallions, beansprouts ($9.50)

Probably one of my lesser favorites of the night because of the octopus, but truthfully, by then, all the food started tasting the same. Actually, you were lucky if you could actually get some food in that mad dash…

Pan Fried noodles: ($9.00)

yakisoba fight!

At this point, everyone was like, JUST TAKE THE PICTURE GODDAMMIT!

Dang it, this hit the spot. I usually love udon, but with so many people, a thinner noodle is the way to go. This was so thin and fragile that it almost tasted like ramen. It may have been ramen… Anyway, I’m sure they cranked up the MSG in this dish because it was just so flavorful. Pan fried though? I don’t think so…

Yakiudon, regular ($9.50)

Hands down, always my favorite dish at any Japanese joint. I’m a sucker for udon, but unfortunately, because of how thick udon is, they don’t give you much here. And no, those aren’t shredded carrots- it’s ginger! I definitely prefer Hagi’s yakiudon to Kenka’s because there’s less sauce on this one. If you’ve never had yakiudon, you’re missing out… big time.

beansprouts... something

I forgot the name: bean sprouts, cabbage string beans, miso sauce, pork (8.50)

Funny how I can remember everything that was in it and the price, but not the name of the dish. Well I only remember what went in it because Saumya specifically requested that it have the miso sauce . While it was mighty delicious, there were no carbs so it felt just a tad bit too healthy for the occasion.

dig in
Someone is in the process of stealing food via chopsticks!

I only caught two hands in the battle. What a rare moment.

my plate!
My plate, and I believe this was after I did a victory lap after successfully taking some noodles as P.O.W. from Jlee’s chopsticks… SORRY JOONBUG!

saumya & vineetha
Congratulations you two, for being the most photogenic of the night and keeping still. Every other picture turned out blurry…

The table next to us was filled with these white guys in their late 20’s/early 30’s. They got a kick out of us. When the Yakisoba landed on our table, one of them immediately sought out the server and requested, “YOU SEE THAT? WE WANT THAT!”

There was definitely alot more food than that check showed. I mean, three hours?! I can’t believe we ate for three hours! How is that even humanely possible?!

he was cool for a moment
And to end off this post, I wanted to show you Jlee in all of his glory- with my aviators. He was cool for a moment- but only for a moment.

152 W. 49th St.
New York, NY 10019
Near Seventh Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions

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