Sake Moment – A Spoonful at Koo
I have been encouraged to comment on occasion about restaurants that I visit with the express purpose of checking out their "sake game." Sometimes these visits are ummmm well how do I put it? Not worth it! (But I will never write about those encounters.) And other times I am greatly rewarded by chefs and owners who take great care in marrying their sakes to their cuisine. So the "Sake Moment" section will feature sake experiences that are worth checking out or at the very least hearing about.
Last month I managed to slip away to a very cool little restaurant near the UCSF Hospital called Koo, which bills itself as a "Japanese Restaurant." I had been told by numerous True Sake shoppers to give it a try, and well they were right! Firstly they have a very solid "premium sake" list that features roughly 13 brews with a Niigata tilt. (Kubota, Hakkaisan, Kikusui, etc) Each sake has a word or two description such as Otokoyama – "Dry & Sharp" or Tamanohikari – "Smooth." I had the "Duck Breast Salad" and paired it with both the Ichinokura Junmai and Kikusui Junmai Ginjo. The Kikusui did remarkably well with the dressing on the salad, which had a little citrus/pineapple twang. (For me I get a lot of citrus in the Kikusui and that matched-up perfectly).
The highlight or "Sake Moment" came with a dish that they call a "Spoonful of Happiness," which is a plate with two miso soupspoons each filled with yummies galore paired with a glass of Suigei Tokubetsu Junmai. The first spoon had loads of uni with a quail egg, tobiko, and ponzu sauce. The second had ankimo (monk fish liver) wrapped with white fish in a truffle oil ponzu sauce. The Suigei got a little lost with spoon number one, but the balance was there. The winner was spoon number two as the Suigei just rocked with the ponzu and really mellowed the entire bite into one confident yet delicate mouthful. Delicious with a capital D! The "Spoonful of Happiness" costs $9 and basically is a steal especially for all of that Happiness!
Koo Restaurant – 408 Irving Street (415) 731-7077