Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tempura and sake for lunch at Kai, shopping at Ito-en

I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Kai, which is only a few blocks away from the book fair. Usually I have dinner there when I'm in New York, but I had limited time so decided to visit for lunch and, really, lunch was as special an occasion as dinner at Kai.

First I was brought a welcome cup of green tea which was refilled throughout the meal. I decided on the large prawn and vegetable tempura set which included tempura, miso soup, assorted vegetables, housemade oshinko, white rice and, for dessert, fruit, yazu cheesecake and jasmine creme brulee. I asked for advice on a sake to drink with lunch and went with the Hakkaisan ginjo ($17/glass). I think it was the best tempura that I've had in the U.S.!

Here are the stats for the sake:

Brewery: Hakkai-Jyozo Sake Brewery
Prefecture: Niigata
Rice: Yamada-Nishiki, etc.
Polishing rare: 50%
Alcohol: 15.6%
SMV: +6
Acidity: 1.2

After lunch I went downstairs to Ito-en tea shop and bought some tea and cups and also this glass pot and warmer that was marketed as a sake heater. It seems more like something you would use to keep tea warm - the little candle is not hot enough to warm sake that was stored in the refrigerator.

I also got this incredibly cute masu with a "saucer."

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