The range and possibilities of sake, is becoming more and more endless to me. I am actually a big supporter of the small town hero, and note a quality decline whenever beer/wine makers ramp up production. So I would hope small batch makers do the most exciting work.
I am a sorta nerd about terroir. I like to think the term goes beyond just climate & soil, into local practices and tastes. "A sense of place" really covers a lot. So I would certainly think about a town's sake in context with the daily food they live in and think about.
On another note, I noticed you sometimes compare certain sake to a Burgundy Chablis grand cru. Recently, I've been trying to sample these, along with Meursault, Pouilly Fuisse, and California chardonnay. I think the preference between fans of metal vs. oak barrels is interesting.
This general category of 'drink' is all encompassing, and you can really discover similarities different drinks have in common, when exploring from different angles.
Thank you @localtaste
I'm very interested in trying hanasansho. I hope I can locate it this May.
I looked and found that Goryukubo's tabelog photo page has it in a few places.
Particularly beautiful photo:
And Okamoto, which features it abundantly. He even does a (pork?) shabu with it.
This show was something I saw a while back. It explores a variety of ways to use the ingredient. It refers to it as 'young sansho berries'.
Sorry about all the links. I got too excited. :D
This hybrid approach to cooking unagi, seems to be the way most young chefs think towards other cuisines too. Some would call it 'progress'. I'm a fan of both modern and traditional techniques, so I understand if restaurants prefer to retain the recipes they've held for generations.
I think when the term 'resting' comes up, I too immediately think of steak. Beef Wellington and the other duck pastry dish are interesting ones to think of. I think it most often comes up in the west, when cooking whole turkey or rib roast.
I will read the articles you've suggested. Haven't gotten through all of the older articles. Going to do that now.
Sushi Ichijo - 8
Adding to Yeehow's review :)
Had Sushi Ichijo for lunch before the returning fight from Narita Airport. We ordered the 12-piece lunch set. The lunch last a good 50 minutes. From Ichijo, it takes about 1hr to reach Narita.
Shari is sour and umami. It seems that the chef had trained at Shimizu before, but his shari is not a pure recreation of Shimizu's shari. In addition to two vinegar blends, he told us that he had added something special. We enjoyed his shari a lot and ordered some plain shari to taste, without neta. Good sushi pieces included: hamaguri, kohada, chutoro, ika, kampyo.
The chef was very nice, funny, and down to earth. The lunch was 11k including tax and service, very good value. The place seems quiet somehow for a Saturday, maybe because it was rainy. We would love to go back again some time.
@localtaste In my younger years eating unagi... the rice, after the sauce from the unajyu had soaked into it, was the part I most looked forward to. Still is, in some ways, hard not to think of that as the main event. Although now, I look more to the quality of the actual eel.
In your evaluating section, #10 is one of the five major criteria of the Michelin inspector, and I think the one most chefs don't even know about or understand. #6 is a surprising red flag for them, if it comes to the table cold. The second part of your #4 seems to go hand in hand with #10: none of the present elements distracting from each other.
Actually, many of these are subsections of their 5 main criteria: attempt at mastery of cooking, ingredient sourcing, balance in equilibrium/harmony, consistency over time. The only one you've left off is creativity/personal touch. I can see your depth of experience in this list.
I guess I have to just eat more with pairings to get further experienced in it, and natural at spotting things. In some cases, if I'm already planning to bring a bottle out to dinner, I just wish for the best, and hope I can time it to the right dishes.
I have indeed experienced what it's like to try a bottle of something (beer, wine, cider...), but opening a second bottle much later, it not longer tastes the same. Not necessarily sake, but I suppose I will run into the same challenge here too.
If the food is no good, do you sometimes give up on opening the bottle, and wait until the next time?
I actually can't mentally picture sake going with Italian too well, in my head, haha. I eat a lot of tomato based dishes. But I get the seafood one. And probably clam linguine 'vongole'! And I've definitely tried certain little dishes at standing sake bars, that sort of resemble whipped butter. Sometimes it's more a cheese or spread. There's a trend lately I've come across: whipped beef tallow, in place of butter. Seems to be catching on.
Sake with pizza is a thought I've never had. But I'm starting to see different beverages served with neopolitan pizza, not just a beer and soda. Especially if you go into the realm of white sauce, anchovies, and with an egg on top. I think Pizza Studio Tamaki is a good place to do something like that. He is very interesting in conversation, and expresses interest in experimenting with different drinks. I also quite like Da Isa. Over here, the popular drink nowadays at any Italian place, is the cocktail negroni, or its variations using Campari/Aperol. Now that I think of it, if there's a decent champagne sparkling style sake out there, I would enjoy it with pizza.
That Kenbishi sake is quite famous right? I can definitely get this one easily! And yep, I do like head cheese, lardo, most charcuterie, etc... I really like that prosciutto wrapped around a bread stick. On this topic a bit, have you eaten at Pellegrino? I sat at the ham bar of a restaurant one day, and realized it's quite similar to what I imagine in pictures there. Same ham slicing machine.
I'm getting more careful at balancing acidity and such, with wine/sake paired with the right/wrong food. Probably I'm not advanced enough to mentally come up with creative ideas, as to what weird 'out of the box' foods could go with what sake. But from what I've seen so far at different places with odd food, it seems it's all fair game. At least I think most people know when something doesn't pair, because it tastes unpleasant, and you discover you shouldn't have eaten that. Sometimes I think this is why it's much better to leave a set course and pairing in the hands of the chef and sommelier, rather than order ala carte. The most common error I keep making, is eating something too sweet, and forgetting about my glass on the table.
I think the Toyo Bijin you recommended me before is a white label, with red script character? I see they have many different types of labels. Even a red font on blue sticker, and an all black bottle. Will get very lost trying to find out the differences. I will keep an eye out for that non dry white label. Hope I get to try a few on my next trip. I recall that their bottles are pretty big.
What sushi restaurants with strong sake pairings, are you excited to return, or try for the first time? We've spoken in depth on Kurosaki. I remember Amamoto paid rather close attention in describing sakes to his guests. I would like to perhaps know more about Japanese restaurants with an interesting approach to the beverage program, with unique personality. I think I commented in the past on my experience at Ichita, and the surprisingly good selection he had. I used to not really look at that 'drink' tab in the Tabelog photo gallery section. But I think I will be doing so from now on!
Exactly my thoughts Eric - I make tonkatsu at home, and since I'm coming all the way to Tokyo I want to be able to eat phenomenal tonkatsu, as opposed to a good/decent tonkatsu!
I think you have swayed me to try out Maruyama Kippei - would you say get there for 30 minutes early before a queue forms? I'll put Marugo next if I have any spare meal slots on this trip!
Thank you for your advice!
Yes, Obama-san trained at Kyubey and then was involved with opening "Sushi Tokai". (The name "Tokami" is said to have been created using the first initial of the wives of the chefs at "Singapore Aoki", "Yamayuki", and "Obama".). It seems he has a very good pipeline with the largest tuna merchant in Japan "Yamayuki".
Unfortunately, it seems that promising young chefs tend not to choose "Kyubey" as a place of training recently.
(For Kyubey, I have heard that a chef called Shigihara-san at the Okura branch is the most skilled by far, although he is not young.)
thanks for sharing. I was told his regular menu in winter is 38,000 yen. actually got a resy at one point but the time didn't work out. Didn't realize they are 3* now, and that means the reservation will be even harder.
Thanks Saito san for the reply. I have currently booked Chisou Nakamura due to a higher average tabelog review score, have you heard of it?
Yes, really excited to try the sushi and izakaya in Fukuoka. Managed to score a seating at kikuzushi, and according to the concierge, there are still openings at sushi karashima and osamu. Thank you for the helpful suggestions in the article.
As a foreigner who speaks little to no Japanese, who had recently dine in Karashima, Kiku and Sakai, I would much preferred the later 2 for the overall experience. Seguchi-san and Sakai-san try their best to make sure you are not out of place, sometimes even getting extra attention to make sure you like every pieces.
The quality is definitely there in Karashima, and I have no doubt he will be a great sushi chef, but I second to every unfortunate event the gentlemen above has mentioned.