New York’s Own Tokyo Bar

tokyo_logo.jpgEver wonder what it might be like to jump inside a comic book like that 80’s A-ha Video? Well, me neither – but you can experience it nonetheless with a trip to Tribeca’s Tokyo Bar (277 Church Street New York, NY 10013). The soaring walls and ceiling in this place are covered with comic book graphics and splashes of neon thrown in for good measure. Even the bathrooms are covered head to toe in manga. It’s an interesting study of Japanese pop aesthetic and it creates a pretty darn cool backdrop for sake enjoyment.

wakatake_daiginjo.jpgScott and I went on a lark to this new place for an early evening dinner and we were thrilled by our experience. The sake list at Tokyo Bar is solid. You can check out the sakes they offer here. Highlights include: Tsukasabotan Junmai Daiginjo, Suigei Junmai and Sawanoi Ohkarakuchi Junmai.

I ordered an old favorite of mine the Wakatake Junmai Daiginjo. This sake is really a gem and a terrific sake for starting out with sake enjoyment – it’ll get you hooked! Light and smooth with a small burst of floral.The food at Tokyo Bar was billed as “New Japanese comfort food”. The fried chicken was some of the best we ever had. funky_pop_neon.jpgScott loved his Japanese curry dish, though it was too spicy for me. The pacing of the food at our early evening meal was leisurely and relaxed which we really enjoyed.

The only fumble Tokyo bar made the whole night was serving sake in a wooden masu. As we were being seated, i noticed a neighboring table was being served sake in a cedar masu. Alarm bells started to ring in my head. However traditional, I don’t recommend this for any premium brew as the wood smell and flavor can permeate the sake in short order. bathroom_walls.jpgThis may be fine for cheap and easy taru, but if you’re paying $24 for a glass of super premium Daiginjo, who wants that? I asked the waiter when I placed my order to bring the sake in a glass and it was totally fine. But I worry about folks who don’t know to ask and have a “wooden” experience with their sake. Masus are fun, but the plastic ones are best – they have the look without interfering with the flavor or nose. Be sure to ask for your premium sake in a wine glass when in doubt.

Ok, despite my masu-bashing tirade, Tokyo Bar overall was really wonderful. this is the type of Japanese place I love to go to: great interior, friendly staff, yummy food and a thoughtful sake list. What more could a boy ask for? It’s enough to make me want to jump inside the comic book to stay.