True Sake Quick Hit - Kiji Restaurant
I snuck into Kiji (http://www.kijirestaurant.com) - a small sushi restaurant on Guerrero - for a quick meal and a glass or two. With roughly 20 sakes on the menu they have a good selection from Gokyo Junmai to several Honjozo offerings. They also do a daily sake sampler that is pretty exciting! My food choice for the evening was a daily special Aji Tataki for $14.
The Aji Tataki was beautifully prepared and consisted of chopped Spanish mackerel with chopped ginger, scallions and a ponzu sauce with the skeleton of the fish curved up on a wooden stick! (After you are done with the dish they deep fry the entire skeleton and bring it back to you with a little soy sauce and lemon.)
I selected the Dassai Junmai Ginjo (4.5oz pour for $9) to pair with the raw fish and the salty and smoky deep fried skeleton. The smoothness of the brew really went well with the softness of the fish and the ponzu pulled out a little fruit. The oil of the fish and the deep fried skeleton was enhanced by the thickness of the sake, which really holds the flavor. The flesh was oily but not greasy - rich but not heavy - so the fat sake really made the dish taste fresher. The scallions and chunks of chopped ginger brought out a brightness to the dish that also danced with the plump fruit flavors of the Dassai.
In a word the balance of Dassai is what really made this pairing work! It calmed the snappy components like ginger, scallion, and ponzu and it melted with the nice oil of the mackerel. Definitely a pairing worth $23.