Monday, November 27, 2006

9/30/06: Aburiya Kinnosuke

I was hoping to attend a Food/Saké seminar featuring David Bouley at Japan Society couple of days after the Joy of Saké event, but by the time I tried to register, it was all sold out. Still riding the tidal wave of momental from the Saké Week, I needed a fitting ending. Luckily, Lefty was in the same plight.

We met up around 8:00 pm in the Midtown East. After some brainstorming, we deciede to visit my friend Nell's place, Aburiya Kinnosuke on 45th St. It was bit crowded, so it took about 15 minutes for us to be seated, and unfortunately, Nell works only on weeknights so we missed her. We did get a great seat, though, sitting at the counter to get a great view of the robata cooking by the fire pit.

Since I had a late lunch, we decided to order light dishes and try couple of sakés. I started with the carafe of the usual~ Dassai 50~ before trying something new.

The dishes were fantastic. First, we ordered Home-made Tofu in a Bamboo Basket ($6.50), which came with special sea salt on a side. I love home-made tofu, and this had a very good balance of firmness and gentleness.

After the tofu, we tried Organic Berkshire Pork Simmered with Brown Sugar Soju ($8.50), a variation of the Japanese "Buta No Kaku-Ni" that was godsend. The perfect balance of sweetness from the Soju and saltiness from Soy complemented by flavors of ginger was perfect accompaniment for the second saké that I cannot remember!

However, the third saké was highly memorable, as it was advertised as the driest saké on the market. They are not kidding, as Yuki No Matsushima Honjozo (SMV: +20, Acidity: 1.6, Rice: Toyonishiki, Seimaibuai: 65%, Yeast: Assoc #7) from Miyagi had SMV that was 5 more than the generally accepted upper range of +15, kind of like how Nigel Tufnel's amp goes up to 11.

So what was it like? This full-bodied saké had a flavor that was very saké-like, with flavors of cream and grain. But what was exraordinary was the very firm and tight finish that seem to resurrect the flavors of Berkshire Pork from the pores of my tongue, in a way that alcohol-based solvent seems to pull the paint off a surface (and I mean that in a nicest way possible.) For those who seek extreme, give this one a try!

Although the night was very mellow by my ususal standards, I had a double bonus of discovering a great place to enjoy saké, and a new saké that was unlike any other I've tasted before.

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