As a black koji sweet potato shochu aged in unglazed clay pots for a minimum of 3 years, this promises to be a full bodied, richly flavored, absolutely decadent imo shochu. And does it ever deliver.
Address: 227 Church St. New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 965-0200
Reservations: Yes, OpenTable
Located on a quiet avenue in Tribeca, Shigure is an unexpected gem in an unexpected place. There aren’t many Japanese restaurants around so an authentic izakaya is an unexpected find. The Japanese owners have made a comfortable space with an impressive bottle display around the bar and a large map of Japan with all of the prefectures identified so sake & shochu lovers can find where their drink came from. The ceilings are higher than I anticipated, which is a decidedly non-izakaya feeling, but it also makes the space feel open and casual. The stair cutout descending to B-Flat (Japanese jazz bar downstairs) is cleverly hidden beneath rows of bottles of Japanese booze.
Shigure offers a huge beer, sake, and shochu list including a handful of shochus I’ve not seen at any other U.S. izakaya. All of their shochus are available by the bottle or by the glass – bottle keep is available (customer bottles are part of the impressive bottle display around the bar). Also available, ares Japanese craft beers and, of course, sake, and Japanese whiskey. Regardless of your drink of choice, you’re sure to find something here that strikes your fancy.
While many izakaya in NYC adapt their menus to an American palette by over-seasoning their food, Shigure goes with the tried and true delicate flavors and aromas that makes Japanese cuisine the best in the world. The menu changes with the season, but the grilled edamame is always there – and worth ordering for its unique preparation. This may be a controversial claim, but for my money, Shigure has the finest kara-age (Japanese style fried chicken) in NYC. It immediately takes me back to the best izakaya in Japan. Using a salt-koji preparation, it’s divine. The sashimi is always fresh and well prepared and on the other end of the spectrum, the buta kakuni (braised pork belly) is luscious. Their miso cod is a signature dish and well worth trying.
Strange as it may seem, potato salad is a point of pride for most izakaya and Shigure goes with a unique avocado preparation that sets it apart from other izakaya around NYC. Duck chashu is another unexpected dish with all the rich flavor you’d expect from duck — and chashu. All in all there isn’t much on this menu that you wouldn’t want to eat time and time again.
Shigure deserves far more love than its getting. It’s rarely busy and always delicious. The staff is cordial, even friendly, which isn’t always the case in NYC restaurants. It’s out of the way for most people, because izakaya lovers are almost conditioned to spend their time in Midtown or the Village. Shigure is a bit out of the way, but it’s worth the trip – over and over again.