Saké Sips and Bold Bites

IMG_6542

By Kristin Namimoto Some of my most cherished childhood memories are the summers I spent visiting my favorite Japanese aunt in Tokyo. I had such rich food and cultural experiences during those summers and as a ten-year-old child, developed a pretty weird palate: my favorite foods were, and still are, uni and natto. To this day, if I’m in a restaurant and the server tells me about a seemingly bizarre dish, I’ll be the first to order it immediately.

IMG_6542
IMG_6542

Fortunately for me, this is something I get to experience frequently in my career here at Charles Comm. Most recently, I’ve been traveling around the country with our saké client,SakéOne. They’re one of the very few stateside (and award-winning), premium saké brewers and have just re-launched their domestically produced Momokawa portfolio. The purpose of these “Momokawa Supper Club Dinners” is to introduce mind-blowing (in terms of flavor and the unexpected nature) pairings.  We recommend tasting premium saké chilled in a wine glass, much like you would a wine, to fully enjoy the complex aromas and flavor profiles. Saké has very low acidity levels, which make a wide array of pairings seamless- whether they are complimentary or opposite.

Here are some of our favorite saké pairings from our past dinners:

Foie Gras A beautifully seared foie gras, topped with candied kumquats and sesame seeds paired with Momokawa's Ruby Junmai Ginjo. We loved how the nutty tones of the sake complimented the dish. Special thanks to NY Vintners in Tribeca, NYC for helping arrange such a fantastic evening!

fois gras
fois gras

Curried Beef Cheeks Lightly spicy, melt-in-your mouth curried beef cheeks with tangerine greens and toasted garlic chips paired with the creamy/unfiltered Momokawa Pearl Nigori: opposite flavors made for a delectable balance. Also from our dinner at NY Vintners.

curried beef cheeks2
curried beef cheeks2

Enchiladas Crab and shrimp enchiladas suiza enveloped in fresh-made corn tortillas oozing with Sonoma Jack cheese and bathed in a creamy roasted tomatillo sauce was paired with a clean Momokawa Junmai Ginjo, bringing out the brightness of the dish. Courtesy of Rick Bayless’ Red O restaurant on Melrose in West Hollywood.

enchiladas
enchiladas

Have you tried pairing premium saké with non-Japanese/Asian fusion dishes before? What are your favorite pairings? Please share!