I am officially on vacation! Well, I am actually sitting at the Las Vegas airport waiting for my 6 hour layover to be over. Luckily, I have saved up a handful of United Red Carpet Club passes; this means free coffee, free food and free Wi-Fi! I do have to admit that I feel a bit out of place, but it is still pretty cool. My next long layover is going to be in Japan, so I decided to share with you my meal from a Japanese sake bar called Sakagura in New York City.
Sakagura is not your average Japanese restaurant. It is one of the top sake bars in the United States. The menu is an assortment of small tapas-style plates; and you won’t find sushi anywhere on it. The entrance to the restaurant is hidden in a basement of an office building in New York, which gives it a fun speak-easy feeling when you go.
We spent a small amount of time looking over the menu, but then ordered everything at once. The service was spectacular; everything was timed perfectly. Once we finished one plate and had a sip of our sake, the next plate arrived. We began with the Marguro Tartar, which was tuna steeped in yuzu with flying fish roe and caviar. The presentation was just as awesome as the flavor!
Our second plate was the Kamo Roast. This was sliced of chilled roasted duck wrapped around scallions and accented with a basil sauce. I love duck, but this dish was only OK compared to the rest of the meal; I think this might have been because it was chilled.
Next, we had the Uzaku. This dish was beautifully composed with grilled eel with an eel vinaigrette over cucumber and wakame seaweed. I was hesitant to try this since I had never tried eel, but was easily persuaded and absolutely loved it. The cool crunch of the cucumber paired perfectly with the salty, sweet eel.
After that came the Yuba Shumai, minced pork dumplings with shrimp and lotus roots wrapped in thin bean curd sheets and served with ponzu, a Japanese citrus sauce. The photo doesn’t do these dumplings justice- they were moist and packed with flavor.
The following plate was another item I wouldn’t have ordered on my own, but am so happy that I was convinced otherwise. When I think of cod I usually picture a dry, boring fish; this was the complete opposite. The quality of fish and cooking techniques at this restaurant showed me a new side of cod. The Gindara Yuan Yaki was grilled filets of cod steeped in sweet soy sauce. The fish was moist and delicate, unlike any cod I have had before.
The final plate we had was the Gyutan Yawaraka Ni, which was beef tongue stewed in a miso broth with daikon radish, taro potatoes, spinach and shiitake mushrooms. If see beef tongue on a menu I highly recommend you try it. Another beef tongue favorite of mine in New York was a beef tongue taco from a food truck that I used to walk by on my way to work in the morning.
I left this restaurant excited and full. It was such a cool experience for me all around- I learned so much about Japanese cuisine and fish and also got to try a bunch of new things! If you find yourself in New York, you HAVE to visit Sakagura for a one-of-a-kind experience.