Rejoicing With Sake at Yoshi’s
Warm, aromatic, fruity, floral, with notes of citrus and sandalwood, sake is definitely not your regular vodka, but something infinitely more delicate and sophisticated than a stiff drink.
To celebrate the most popular Japanese spirit’s diversity and versatility, the annual Joy of Sake Soiree was held in the most fitting place in San Francisco – Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant for the ninth time since 2001. In two 90-minute tastings, 178 award-winning labels from the 2010 U.S. National Sake Appraisal, and then 72 labels not available in the U.S. were presented to the discerning public this September.
Chris Pearce, President of World Sake Imports and Yoshi’s Executive Chef Sho Kamio, supported by Kokusai Sake Kai (organizers of the U.S. Appraisal) unfolded a decadent feast of tastes and textures with their stellar sake and food pairings. Tasting tables for Junmai, Ginjo, and Daiginjo sake, with intricately designed bottles spaced out for easy access, were equipped with ceramic cups and plastic droppers to pour just the right amount of a drink for a singular taste.
Balance, aroma, taste, and overall impression are the categories used by sake experts, who usually pay attention to any possible flaws rather than to outstanding qualities of the drink. At the Soiree, in this reporter’s humble opinion, it would be hard to find sake less than well-balanced and aromatic, while the Flavors of the Fall food pairings rounded up the delightful experience.
Dip-fried soft shell crab morsels; grilled calamari steak strips; nigiri sushi, and creative tomato miso, shiitake, and arugula pizza slices were passed around; a salad bar was filled with baby greens, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet summer corn; and chef’s stations produced small plates with rare Maguro tuna garnished with seaweed, spicy Udon noodles, and miso-braised short ribs with silky wasabi polenta. Miniature disserts of colorful mochi came in Amaretto, green tea, and caramel flavors. To find out more about the annual Joy of Sake Soiree, visit their website.