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Jan 5, 2012 11:36 AM

Sake bars with amazing food/tasting menu

Hi All,
Looking to get a gift for someone special. She loves sake so was thinking the top rated restaurant with tasting menu that serves all types of sake. Looking for an amazing experience. Any recs'?

thanks in advance

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  1. Sakagura. No tasting menu as such as its an izakaya, but good food and a wide ranging list of sakes. I think its might be the biggest list in the city.

    211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bkeats

      I would also add 15 East to the list. Their sake pairing with the chef's tasting is fabulous.

      15 East
      15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

      1. re: Yaxpac

        Great, will check them both out. Great food is a must. Anything about Brushstroke?

      2. re: Bkeats

        Another vote for Sakagura. Amazing food and amazing list of Sake. Don't forget to order their black sesame creme brulee.

        1. re: Bkeats

          Sakagura is a good choice, they do have extensive menu. The food is good, it's not "gourmet", but it's not supposed to be. I like that it is a "secret" restaurant hidden in the basement of an office building.

        2. If you're not restricted to Manhattan, I'd recommend Zenkichi in Williamsburg. On a recent trip to NY, I went to both Sakagura and Zenkichi, and much preferred the latter. The food was a little bit more refined and the atmosphere more intimate.

          Though Sakagura has a more extensive sake list, Zenkichi has a very good list as well, and offers parings and sake flights so your friend can try lots of different kinds. Zenkichi also offers an 8-course omakase tasting menu.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Guy Incognito

            I did go with Sakagura but good to know Zenkichi as well! Thanks so much!

            1. re: Guy Incognito

              Really? I had dinner at Zenkichi this summer and was very, very disappointed. I found the food to be mediocre at best. I think I even posted on Outer Boroughs board about it, so disappointed I was. Especially because I loved the ambiance. I've only been once so maybe I shouldn't write it off completely, but I can't recommend it - not worth the trip over the bridge.

              I've been to Sakagura many times, and while their selection of small plates won't exactly blow you away, they are almost always delicious and authentic (I know, I know.) Definitely look at the specials and order whatever sounds good! I'm not a drinker so I can't comment on their sake selection, but my husband loves it and it's a general consensus that Sakagura has one of best sake lists in the country. And of course, I love their black sesame creme brulee too, and all the other desserts. I'd walk over for desserts only after a dinner at Yasuda.

              211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

              1. re: uwsister

                Did you order a la carte or the omakase at Zenkichi? We did the omakase and were very pleased. The only course we were disappointed with was the simmered fish (salmon) because it was a bit on the dry side. But the ankimo was probably the best I've ever had.

                I think we probably ordered wrong at Sakagura. I should note that one person in our party was not very adventurous, so we ended up ordering some of the "safer" choices I wouldn't have ordered otherwise. I definitely want to go back to try some other dishes. Loved the buta kakuni.

                (FWIW, my wife is Japanese and she preferred Zenkichi as well)

                1. re: Guy Incognito

                  FWIW, I am part Japanese and spent some time in Japan, not that it makes me an expert in Japanese food or anything ;) We ordered a la carte. I would be willing to give it a second chance, though for my money and traveling time, I would rather go to 1 or 8 if I'm having Japanese in Williamsburg. But I did love the ambiance and service was very nice - I will try the ankimo if I return!

                  1. re: uwsister

                    I'm in agreement with uwsister on this one. Have been to Zenkichi the first week they opened and a few times since then and just not into it. The quality is not up to the cost. The cozy interior was cool at first, but felt like a chain izakaya last time. That said, I haven't been to Sakagura in a couple of years and I know they changed head chefs since then.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      I guess I didn't really factor in the price when I went, but in retrospect, you're right -- it is a little expensive for what you get. I'm from DC and the Japanese dining scene here is pretty lacking. If we want good Japanese food here, we have to pay much more than we did at either Zenkichi or Sakagura. And we definitely don't have any izakayas that approach the quality of these places.

                      In terms of atmosphere, I really liked the semi-private booths at Zenkichi. It would be a good place for a date, while Sakagura has a more traditional izakaya feel, and would be better suited for a night out with friends. At least these are the impressions I got based on one visit to each.

                      1. re: Guy Incognito

                        The private booths, downstairs, *could* be "a good place for a date".
                        I've never thought of this place as an izakaya.
                        Food-wise, their "chef's" menu reaches for comparision to Kyo-ya.
                        A recently featured course, shirako/shungiku tempura, was outstanding.

                        As noted, probably the best selection of sake in nyc.
                        And, yes, do ask about the evening's "specials".
                        In spite of this, i would only consider this an izakaya in the most literal terms.

                        "date"? ... tried robata-ya on e9th? not too far off the l!

                        Of course, if it's rolls you want, there's Momo in Bushwick.

                        Robataya NY
                        231 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis

                          Interesting. I have never been to Zenkichi. I have been to possibly every other restaurant on that block including the tea house upstairs. I will have to try Zenkichi despite TDLOA's name lol