Sunday, April 14, 2013

Taste of Japan/Grand Sake Tasting

By Claire Goldman

Sushi, sake and ceviche?  Don't mind if I do!  One of the many charms from the Orient brought to the District by the annual National Cherry Blossom festival is the Taste of Japan/Grand Sake Tasting event.  Hosted in the historic Carnegie Library, several of the top local Japanese restaurants gathered along with 17 different sake and Japanese beer brands.

Kaz and his fresh ceviche bites.

As for the food, there were many delicious dishes from Kaz, Yo! Sushi, Masa 14 and Zengo but my favorite was the shrimp dumplings from Asia 9, cooked to perfection and topped with a creamy chili sauce.

One interesting find, was a brand of Japanese beers called COEDO.  Of their five flavors, my favorite was the Beniaka which is made of sweet potatoes.  Locally you can try the COEDO line of beers at Sushi Taro.

I also really enjoyed the only sparkling sake offering called Mio.  Sold in a beautiful blue bottle for about $6 retail from H Mart, I'll definitely be stocking up on this refreshing libation for the warmer months.

The most talked about station at the event belonged to Born Sake.  The most premium line of sake in all of Japan.
I tried a sample of Japan's Prime Minister's favorite, Born's Dreams Come True, which is served aboard their nation's version of the Air Force One.  I also tasted the even more high end Born Gold, which was rumored to be the most expensive sake at the event, priced in the $500 range per bottle or approximately $5 a sip!  It tasted fabulous and was served by the "Sake King" himself, the charming Mr. Kato, President/CEO of Born.

I can definitely recommend checking out this event next year but until then, head to the great Japanese cuisine and libations offered right here in the DC area.