Life is Short: Eat Dessert First

Kyotofu_storefront.jpgI first heard of Kyotofu back in October when they provided yummy tofu desserts for a Landmark Sake Seminar. They were a few weeks away from opening at that point, but I made a note to visit when I got the chance.

That chance arrived when I got an email announcing a Sake-Dessert pairing at Kyotofu on Dec 4th. Dessert and sake together – all night? Like a kid in a candy store, this sounded like my absolute dream evening come to life.

Chris_Johnson.jpg On the big night, I was greeted by Nicole, one of the owners – and handed a fruity shochu cocktail. Shochu of course is Sake’s more alcoholic younger brother – and not my favorite guy to have around. These cocktails however were just delicious. a nice light hand with the alcohol and yummy fruit juices.

After our welcome, the main event was about to begin. Anyone who knows me – even a little bit – soon learns of my huge sweet tooth. And I was about to have dessert for dinner! yeah! Asami__and_sister.jpgScott and I had the good fortune of sitting with our favorite friends from World sake Imports: Keiko-san and Asami-san as well as Asami’s sister visiting from Japan.

Chris Johnson, internationally known Sake expert and owner of Bao 111, was the guest lecturer for the evening. He briefly introduced each sake and entertained questions at each table throughout the night. Compared to the speech type sake lecture, this was a much more personable style of talking about sake that I really enjoyed. All the sake came from the Banzai Sake importing company.

Here is a rundown of the sakes featured

  • crazy_milk.jpgSetsugetsu Bijin (Junmai Ginjo, Oimatsu Brewery, ALC 14.5%, Seimaibuai 55%, SMV +3, Oita Prefecture)
    Served with a few small savory items. This was our ‘meal’ before the onslaught of desserts began. Setsugetsu Bijin was served at our November BYOS event and I wasn’t blown away then or now with this sake. It was definitely more earthy and less polished than sakes I’ve had from Niigata for example. The nose had a touch of sweetness and the palate was a bit lifeless. Onward and upward.
  • moon_rabbit.jpgKissui Miyanoyuki (Junmai, Miyanzaki Brewery, ALC 14.5%, Seimaibuai 60%, SMV +2, Mie Prefecture)
    Served with delicious Black sesame Sweet tofu. This sake was served both warm and chilled to compare and contrast the flavors. The chilled version disappeared against the sweet tofu as there wasn’t much contrast. The warmed Junmai fared better and worked well with the sweet background flavor of the wonderful Sesame tofu. I loved this dish so much, I helped both Scott and Asami finish theirs. This would prove to be a mistake.
  • Crazy Milk (Junmai Nigori, ALC 15.5%, Seimaibuai 70%, Oita Prefecture)
    Served with beautiful Chestnut Mochi Chocolate Cake. Crazy Milk is a ‘rough around the edges’ Nigori I first tried in my last visit to Boston. This brew is really best with food, not to drink on it’s own. It is heavy thick and hardcore with some unbalanced aspects and strong heat from a strong alcohol finish. The pairing idea however, was pure genius – with the “milk” and “chocolate cake” mixing well. I helped both Scott and Asami finish their portions… again, I think this was a misstep on my part… I’m starting to feel full…
  • Koten.jpgTsukiusage “Moon Rabbit” (Junmai, ALC 6.5%, Seimaibuai 55%, SMV -30, Nara Prefecture)
    Paired with a wonderful Miso Tofu Cheesecake. This is a well known sparkling sake. It was my favorite of the evening. Sparkling sakes are becoming more and more a favorite of mine. Moon Rabbit had strong citrus on the nose and palate. I smelled very distinct grapefruit aromas in the nose. This picked up on some citrus in the cake. It was sweet, but you can’t beat those tiny bubbles. Sake really is the Swiss Army Knife of booze, don’t you think? It can do just about anything. Now, it was at this point that I “hit the wall” with dessert intake. 2 more courses to go??
  • Koten (Junmai Koshu, ALC 15.5%, Seimaibuai 65%, SMV -5, Saitama Prefecture.)
    Served with Tahitian Vanilla Parfait. This Aged sake is a mix of different vintages – kind of a mutt. The taste is similar to sherry if you enjoy that. The sake was smooth and for me it had a distinct nutty finish. The parfait was delicious, but I only managed a taste since I OD’d on the second and third course.

The final course was a round of Petit Fours which I could only look at — I was down for the count! My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach tonight, but I did give it the old college try.

The Banzai imported sakes didn’t all hit a home run with me, but there were some nice ones. The Kyotofu desserts were amazing across the board and I think the sesame pudding was the winner for me. Next time you’re near Kyotofu, stop by for some sake and pair it with something sweet. After all, they are a match made in Hell’s Kitchen Heaven.