Valentine’s Day, Sushi, & Sake
I love everything wine. The vines, the land they grow on, and the care and craft good winemakers put into making excellent wine, year after year. But mostly what I love about wine is how it can be a beautiful accompaniment to good food, how the sum of food + wine is somehow more than the sum of the parts. Cultures have evolved around this notion for centuries. Take Italy, where the food and wine in the north are different than the food and wine in the south and, wherever you go, the local wine pairs with the food to create something more evolved over time.
And so it is that we come to a “not wine” pairing. Yes, you can pair wine with sushi, but it should be something bright and crisp – Champagne or sparkling white wines are a good choice. The traditional pairing, of course, is sake. Most of us are just not familiar with sake and its many varieties. The labels tell us nothing unless we read Japanese. So how do you choose?
Sake offers complex flavors, much like a good wine. In fact, you can think of the range of flavors it offers as being similar to wine: from light and fruity to savory with more weight on the palate, or somewhere in between. Most wait staff can help you sort out their sake menu to help you find what you like.
Or you can do what we did on Valentine’s Day, enjoying the Omikase tasting menu at Morimoto. Since we were giving ourselves over to the chef to decide what we would eat, we decided to do the same with the sake and ordered the sake tasting. This gave Elizabeth and me a chance to try different sakes next to the different food courses and to trade sake back and forth according to what each of us liked the most.