Manhattan – TriBeCa
277 Church St. (bet. Franklin and White Sts.)
Manhattan, NY 10013
Gotham's sake bars can tend toward extremes—either stiff-lipped speakeasies or brash East Village dives. This new Tribeca entry from Takahiro Okada (Decibel, EN Japanese Brasserie) and Jiro Yamada (Bar Veloce) strives to hit a middle ground, combining sleek but comfy digs with a high-minded, regional focus on drinks. Small-production distilleries are the focus of the 40-bottle rice wine list, including rare varieties of junmai daiginjoshu (the most labor-intensive, refined type of sake) and gingo-shu(a floral, highly polished sake). Find the origin of your slug on the painted map of Japan on the wall; numbered locations correspond with the menu. Drinkers can also choose from cocktails: Natty mixologists in ties and vests employ 14 types of shochu (a light, vodkalike spirit) in a selection of tipples, including a sour made with muddled Asian pear, a sugarcane-based shochu and lemon juice. Offset the booze with izakaya bites that nod to American picnic grub: A potato-avocado salad comes with a poached egg, while fried chicken is marinated with shio koji, a fermented rice-based sauce.
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