Monday, July 04, 2011

Seeking out Saka Gura

As our stalwart readers know, we have rarely delved into full on restaurant reports.  This is partly because we primarily eat at home (else prodigious show-offs Dame Maggie and Prof. Moriarty would have no audience), partly because we typically forget to document anything whilst we are out and about, and partly because other websites like immaculate infatuation do it oh so much better.

Not so last Monday!  'Twas Mr. Quail's birthday (he turned a respectable age) and to celebrate we finally took the plunge and went to Sakagura.

For those not in the know, Sakagura is a sake bar/Izakaya in the basement of a relatively obscure office building a block away from the Chrysler Building.  Mr. Quail even worked in the building for a short stint (for a company that may or may not have "existed" in the eyes of "the man") but never ventured down to the hidden world below the elevator bank.

So, was our insatiable craving for all cuisine Japanese satisfied?

Would seriously consider as last meal on earth:
Gyu Miso Nikomi: shredded beef back ribs stewed in miso topped with grated daikon radish.

Still salivating over (particularly during fourth lunch of the week at Pret a Manger):

Kamo Roast: thin slices of chilled roasted duck wrapped around scallions and topped with a basil sauce.

Chawan Mushi: steamed egg custard served with chicken, shrimp and ginkgo nuts topped with a thickened ponzu sauce.

Tori Karaage: deep fried chunks of chicken marinade in sake and ginger infused soy sauce.

Black sesame creme brulee (with custom birthday message)
Somewhat forgettable:
Horse Beans (it's a variety of fava bean served in the familiar style of edamame)
Yuba wrapped Shumai

Dying to try, but were too full:
Homemade "Nihachi Soba"
Sanma Onigiri: cooked rice balls with shiitake mushroom, pickled radish and mountain vegetables wrapped with a whole baked pike mackerel

Sakagura was a particularly good choice thanks to its vast sake selection.  Mr. Quail, with his penchant for all things beer, was delighted by the detailed brewing notes and well planned menu.  Naturally, to bookend his experience at Russian River Brewing, he ordered a wild yeast sake. I was a bit concerned.
Image courtesy of  urban sake

Let's just say the wild yeast beers at Russian River weren't my favorites, but this was vastly different: full of flavour, slightly deeper than the traditional Junmai Daiginjo we ordered, namely: Kikuhime (name of the brewery) Yamahai (the method) Junmai (the style) [we think this is correct!].  We're no sake experts (check out for a much more professional description)--I can't even describe what it is I like (Dry? Full bodied? Clean? Fruity? about all of the above.), but now I think I have an inkling that I like "funky, interesting" sake. Although I worry saying that will yield some "interesting" recommendations.  In other words, more research and experimentation is needed on the sake front before we become connoisseurs. In which case, I'll need to make another reservation ASAP.

Alas, such a reservation called for a cat sitter (thanks, Mom!).  But it seems Maggie figured out how to spend her time. They're so fetching, aren't they?

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