Sunday, December 4, 2011

15 x 15 on Nov 30th & Dec 1st 2011

Sushi Sake 15 x 15 was held last week - This is the ultimate sushi and sake pairing. A different sake was paired with each nigiri, 15 times over. The idea may have been a little geeky but it turned out to be a super fun experience.

* Stone Flounder (Ishi Karei) x Sogen, Junmai

The delicate taste of the Stone Flounder was here paired with Sogen Junmai, which is light and sharp, with a hint of aroma of young bamboo at the end.

* Yellowtail (Buri) x Kagatobi, Junmai Ginjyo

The yellowtail from Himi (the region reputed to be one of the best for yellowtail in Japan) has a good amount of fat. Kagatobi Junmai Ginjyo has a thick texture with a fruity aroma at the beginning, but also a finishing with a strong acidity, which cuts the fattiness of the yellowtail.

* Tuna Akami marinated in Soy Sauce with Japanese Mustard (Zuke Maguro w/Karashi) x Naraman, Junmai

The sweetness of the rice coming through Naraman Junmai, the umami of the soy sauce and the particular bite of the Japanese mustard makes a well balanced triangle.

* Autumn Salmon (Aki Aji) x Sawanoi, Junmai Hiyaoroshi

The Aki Aji from Hokkaido can only be fished a few weeks a year. To this very seasonal fish, we paired another seasonal item, an autumn unpasteurized sake. These seasonal sake are made to go perfectly with the Japanese ingredients of the season. So it is no coincidence that the calm aroma of this sake matches so well with this seasonal fish from Japan.


* Seared Pike Mackerel (Sanma Aburi) x Yoshi no Sugi, Taru Sake

The aroma of the Japanese cedar barrel from the sake is here paired with the torched aroma of the seared fish. The sharpness of this sake cuts the oil of the Pike Mackerel.

* Golden Eye Snapper (Kinme Dai) w/yuzu zest x Yuki no Bosha, Junmai Ginjyo

A fish originally on the leaner side, the Golden Eye Snapper around this season has a hint of fat . It is here paired with a fruity and light sake. The aroma of the Ginjyo and of the yuzu zest are also in harmony.

* Chopped Horse Mackerel (Aji Tataki) w/ginger, scallion, sesame
x Masumi, Yamahai Junmai Ginjyo

Power meets power. The Aji Tataki wears a good amount of spices that gives it a punch. The Masumi Yamahai Junmai Ginjyo has a good strength, complexity and sharpness.

* Medium-fatty Tuna (Chutoro) x Seikyo, Junmai

Chutoro has equally the decadence of the fatty tuna and the particular iron taste full of umami of the akami. Seikyo is a sake of well balanced taste and aroma. This pairing is balance vs balance.

* Botan Shrimp w/lobster miso x Ohkagura, Junmai, served warm

Ohkagura and the shrimp's sweetness are lined up in extension. The sake is here warmed, so that the lobster miso which adds complexity melts once it is in the mouth.

* Gnome Fish w/yuzu kosho (Medai) x Biho, Junmai Ginjyo
Gnome fish is on the fatty side around this season, paired here with the delicate fine texture of Biho Junmai Ginjyo. Its elegant Ginjyo aroma also echoes well with the dot of yuzu kosho.

* Sea Eel (Anago) x Take no Tsuyu, Junmai

The soft and delicate texture of Anago contrasts with the sharpness of Take no Tsuyu, and the sweet and salty sauce on the fish plays nicely with the aminoacid = umami of this sake as well.

* Sea urchin/Salmon Roe (Uni/Ikura) x Dewazakura, Junmai Ginjyo Nama Genshu

This one is character vs character. The complexity of the Sea Urchin and Salmon Roe is paired with this unpasteurized and undiluted sake's strength, sweetness, Ginjyo aroma and complexity.

* Monk Fish Liver w/Pickled Squash (Ankimo/Narazuke) x Shusen, Junmai Ginjyo, served warm

Earthy vs earthy. By warming the sake, the shiitake like aroma of Shusen is emphasized The warmth helps the rich Ankimo to melt in the mouth to mix with the sake, and there comes in the crunchy texture and sweetness of the Narazuke pickled squash.

* Spotted Sardine (Kohada) x Tedorigawa, Yamahai Junmai

The vinegar marinated Spotted Sardine married with the very sharp and yet slightly smoky Tedorigawa Yamahai Junmai.

* Seared Otoro w/lemon, sea salt, black pepper (Otro Aburi) x Nanbu Bijin, Daiginjyo
To maximize the amazing umami of the Otoro, the long finishing of Nanbu Bijin Daiginjyo. This Daiginjyo has a good body of ginjyo aroma and a lovely complexity, which stands well even with the richness of the Otoro.

extra course

* Poached Cod Fish Milt (Shirako) x Kikusui, unfiltered Sake

The rich creaminess of the Shirako is paired here with the thick texture and sweetness of Kikusui, which happens to have a high alcohol content that gives it also a good sharpness.

* Crystal Squid (Shin Ika) w/sea salt & lemon x Yuzu Omoi (Yuzu sake) & club soda
To emphasize the sweetness of the squid, the acidity of Yuzu sake. The Yuzu sake straight would be too strong, so soda is added, which also counter balances the thick texture of the squid

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