Specialty liquor store for Japanese sake/shochu?
I was wondering if there are any liquor stores that have more and rarer options for sake or shochu than what the Japanese supermarkets typically offer. I remember walking into a liquor store in a strip mall in Little Osaka (where Nijiya Market and Beard Papa are) and being disappointed that they didn't really offer anything special. I'm looking at the Westside/South Bay area. The Beverage Warehouse is a mandatory destination when in town anyway, so scratch them off the list.
And on a similar tangent: I'm assuming Nikka whisky hasn't made it into the area yet?
For the best selection of Japanese sake in L.A. check out Mitsuwa Market in Torrance. Per the earlier reply, K&L has a good selection as does the Wine House http://www.winehouse.com/, Silver Lake Wine has a small but boutique selection as well. Buzz Wine Beer Shop downtown is another option. Woori Market in Little Tokyo: http://woorimarketusa.com/ has Shochu--but of course, not like Japan. You can also order online from True Sake in San Francisco: http://www.truesake.com/
I don't drink enough sake to consider myself well-versed and I haven't grown an affinity for shochu but... Places that carry substantial selections of sake and shochu seem not to exist outside of what you've mentioned. We've received an occasional great bottle here and there from an acquaintance who distributes regional/artisanal sake around mostly SoCal. When asking where we can buy what he's teased us with, his standard reply is, "Sorry - you can't buy this at any stores - it is only served at (fill-in-the-blank) restaurant(s)"
With that said, places like K & L, Wally's and The Wine Store carry good refrigerated selections of sake in general - majority of the stocks are junmai ginjyo and junmai daiginjyo. Shochu selections are thin relative to sake. I know it's dizzying the numbers of shochu that are available in Japan, but outside of the Korean and Japanese communities, I don't think shochu has gained wide acceptance yet. If I were to pick one place of the three mentioned to seek out both sake and shochu, I'd pick Wally's. They always impress me with the quality and breadth of their stock and they're in West LA. K & L would be a close second, but they're in Hollywood.
I don't think that the Nikka company / distiller has cleared all their US Federal regulatory hurdles to bring it into the U.S. as yet. Sometime this year looks likely from what I read on the Internet.
If you look at their online website it notes that the products shown are ONLY for sale in Japan: http://www.nikka.com/eng/products/index.html
ADD: However, if money is no object it looks like you can get it shipped in from the UK: http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/...