Deeply Madly Truly Dassai… Yopparai Style

Sake Bar Yopparai kicked off May with a fun evening of yummy-sake-drinking and good-food-eating by partnering with Dassai Brewery for an event called “Deeply Dassai, Yopparai Style”. The event focused on a 5 course set menu, all paired with Dassai Sakes. Sounds good, but wait – there’s more… the little surprise is that many of the dishes were cooked using Dassai Sake Kasu (lees), the rice solids left over after pressing the sake. Dassai Sake Kasu is impossible to get here, but some was brought in especially for this one night.

Drumroll please – Here’s a glimpse at the menu:

Deeply Dassai Tasting Menu

Aperitif: Yopparai Cocktail w/ Dassai 50 Sparkling. Dassai 23 Sake Lees Wasabizuke.

1st Course: Daikon Radish Salad/Tomato Salad. Sashimi Assortment. Pairing: Dassai 50

2nd Course: Ebi Shinjo. Kurobuta Black pork Belly. Pairing: Dassai 39

3rd Course: Dassai 23 Sake Lees Marinated Grilled Fish. Pairing Dassai 23.

4th Course: Dassai 23 Sake Lees Kasu Jiru Miso Soup. Rice. Pickles.

Dessert: Dassai 23 Sake Lees soft serve ice cream.

If you’ve never tasted sake lees before, it’s important to know that not all lees are created equal. The Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo Lees are considered a rare and premium product. The taste is reminiscent of sake, but with hints of rice, a whiff of premium alcohol and light fermentation. Lees are used a lot in Japanese cooking and this menu allowed us to sample a wide range of uses for sake lees in one meal – from the Wasabi appetizer to the sake flavored ice cream – Genius! It’s a subtle taste that pairs so well with the sake, but doesn’t overwhelm. The folks at Sake Bar Yopparai got it right!

I think if I had to pick one, I most enjoyed the grilled fish that was marinated in Dassai 23 sake kasu and then served with Dassai 23 Junmai Daiginjo to drink. Simply delicious!

The Sakes themselves were served by Sakurai-san, 4th Generation Owner of Dassai Brewery as well as Dassai Sales Rep Asumi-san who came all the way from Japan for the event! The Dassai signature style is smooth, easy drinking, light fruit on the palate and delicious. You can read my interview with Saurai-san here.

The whole evening was a study in enjoying the essence of Dassai with a Yopparai twist. And, yes, I’ve think I’ve fallen again – you guessed it – Deeply, Madly, Truly for Dassai.