Scott and I had our first date at the Wild Lilly Tea Room in Chelsea just one year ago. Meeting for tea seems harmless enough, and last march, my tastes ran more to sencha than sake juice. This night was similar to last year in so many ways : we sat at the same table right next to the goldfish pond, I got there first and sat nervously waiting and the wind was just as cold and blistery. Since we are more committed now than on our first date, Scott and I committed to eating dinner rather than having â€œjust teaâ€. Along with dinner, I knew Scott would be a willing co-conspirator in sneaking some sake-hooch into our anniversary night and lucky for me, Wild Lilly serves a solid selection of sakes!
I went straight for their sample ‘flight’. You get to pick 5 out of 6 sakes they serve by the glass for $25. As fate would have it, they served a taru (sake produced in cedar barrels) so I knew that would be easy to toss overboard – it’s not my favorite. The sake sampling that Wild Lilly served had both ups & downs. On the plus side, the sakes were very unique and even exotic. The presentation was beautiful. they used that eclectic wacky ‘oh-my-gosh-all-our-glasses-don’t-match’ aesthetic I also saw at Chibi’s bar. On the negative side they had a similarity to chibi bar as well. The serving size was small! It made me wish for a second they would adopt a little American Super-Sizing. (or am I just being a greedy sake-hound?). Here is a list of the sakes I tried:
Tezukuri Junmai brewed by NishiNoSeki/Kayashima Shuzo Co. in Oita Prefecture “Champ of the West”
Ichinokura Himezen Jumai, Miyagi-Prefecture “Sweet Princess” alcohol, 8%
Tenjomukyu Jumai Ginjo brewed by by Suishin Shuzo Co., Ltd. Hiroshima prefecture
Harushika Junmai Daiginjo Nara-Prefecture “Deer in the Spring” Rice: Yamada Nishiki, Nihonshu-do: +3~+4, Seimaibuai: 50%
Hanahato Kijoshu (aged sake) brewed by Enoki Shuzo Co., Ltd., Hiroshima-Prefecture “Flowers and Birds” aged for 8 years, Nihonshu-do (Sake Meter Value): -45 , ALC 16.9%
There were two standouts in the crowd – The Harushika Daiginjo and the Hanahato aged sake. Harushika was delicate and clear. So clear, I ordered a small carafe when my few sips from the tasting were gone. The Hanahato was amazing! It tasted like an odd but wonderful port. I want to get my hands on some more. This would have been the perfect after-thanksgiving dessert wine! well, november is only 9 months away.
Everything at Wild Lilly was perfectly presented and small in size. This held true for our sake as well as for our meal. But check out the soup that came with our dinner. Have you ever seen such a simple yet elegant presentation? It kinda sums up this whole special evening. Sometimes seemingly small sips are meant not to deprive but to show you the path to true appreciation. I know that sounds very “wax on, wax off”, but I do savor my sips just a little bit more these days. Happy Sake-versary Kleine!