10 Great Sake Dens
by Michael Anstendig, New York Observer contributor, 02/27/2009
Revered as Japan’s “Drink of the Gods,” sake is the traditional offering to Shinto deities. With good reason—it’s pretty miraculous stuff. Employing rice, yeast and water, some of the humblest ingredients on Earth, sake brewers can tease out a staggering array of divine aromas and flavors, from the earthy to the fruity. New Yorkers have lately become hip to sake, having figured out the good stuff isn’t flogged at scalding temperatures in cheesy ceramic bottles. Sake-drenched drinkeries have happily proliferated to meet this new thirst, offering mind-bending varieties, tasty eats and diverse vibes. Sakagura lays out an encyclopedic collection, a veritable sea of sake to sample. B Flat combines superb sakes with classic jazz and world-class cocktails. Sake Hana pours on the romance and EN Japanese Brasserie oozes courtly elegance, while more youthful spots like Satsko, Hagi and Decibel serve up boisterous bonhomie that’s as strong as their rice wines.
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