Tenpai Mugi Shochu
Tenpai is an unexpected treat. A mugi shochu, which from previous experience we'd expect a light, neutral flavor like Yokaichi or a rich, sweetly whiskey note like Kannoko if aged in oak barrels. Tenpai defies both of those expectations. Read More...
1or8
Without fully experiencing the coldest season of the year, we are already stepping into the month of March. Nevertheless, Shinji Mizutani of 1 or 8 has decided to offer a proper farewell to winter anyway. Before welcoming spring, 1 or 8 is having a 3-day warmed sake (nurukan) tasting event. Read More...
Menchanko Tei
There are some restaurants that are destinations and others that are comfortable neighborhood joints where you feel like a local even if you're not. Menchanko-Tei 55 falls into the latter category. It's a narrow izakaya in a nondescript area of Midtown Manhattan. The appeal is that it is situated in a relative food desert for good Japanese, several blocks away from any other restaurant of note with the exception of Katsu Hana (upstairs from Menchankto-Tei). The varnished wood walls give the place a warm feeling with its semi-open kitchen along one side. Read More...
kikaijima
Kikaijima is a small island just north of Okinawa. This is as close as you can get to Awamori country without making Awamori. As such, Kikaijima Kurochu, or "Kikai Island Black Kiss" is an aged black sugar, black koji shochu with all of the rich characteristics you'd expect from the southern islands. Read More...
Seikai Ishizuka
Just the title of this piece strikes me as odd. What is a shochu drinking champion? Fortunately for our livers, it's not the person who can drink the most shochu, but rather the person who can successfully match the most shochus from memory. And last week saw the crowning of the 1st ever New York Shochu Contest champion. Before we get to the winner, let's talk a little bit about the 1st Annual Shochu & Awamori Tasting Contest. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an impartial observer. I was also a contestant. Read More...
uminoie
Uminoie (Umi No Ie - "um-ee-no-ee-ay") is one of my favorite izakayas in the city for the simple fact that it's hard to find, easy to miss, small, relaxed, and feels like home. Like most izakayas, it's situated on a street rather than an avenue. I'm guessing this is because it keeps the rents down since customers tend to linger for a long time. What makes Uminoie special is that there is almost no signage. I had to go here 4 or 5 times before I knew where on the block it was. I've walked past it more than once while looking for it. For the longest time I thought it was on 5th Street (it's on 3rd). Read More...

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