10 Great Sake Dens
by Michael Anstendig, New York Observer contributor, 02/27/2009
2. B Flat
277 Church St. • 212-219-2970
Classic jazz, sake and liquored-up libations rule the night at B Flat, an underground lair that feels like Harlem circa 1950. Beige walls are lined with jazz album covers and portraits of musicians. In addition to the bebop-heavy sound track, live music plays on Mondays and Wednesdays. A mahogany bar is joined by booths and brown leather settees, where squat oak chests serve as tables. While decidedly masculine in atmosphere, a high level of sophistication keeps things female-friendly and frat-boy-free. Shinichi Ikeda, a 10-year veteran of the venerable Angel's Share, sets out a nine-bottle sake list that’s modest in variety but outsized in quality. The Nishi No Seki, a full-bodied junmai, is well-suited for the house-smoked tuna tataki. The amber-hued Hanahato Kijo Shu, with sherry-like echoes of caramel, toffee and coffee, syncs expertly with the genmai green tea crème brûlée. There’s also a jaw-dropping array of single malts, bourbons, ryes and cognacs, as well as artisanal cocktails like the Moment’s Notice, with junmai sake, peach liqueur, plum wine and yamamomo, a mountain "peach" adored by monkeys. With Zen-like attentiveness and zero attitude, B Flat sounds a high note.
Browse a lifetime's worth of drinking and dining reviews at Observer.com.