Sake Challenge - SF Chronicle Follows BT on Sake Challenge
I am on a spiritual sake quest that will finally put a nail in the coffin of "sake can only be consumed at a sushi restaurant" mantra. Wake up people! Food and sake go together - always have and always will. If it has a tail, roots, feathers, leaves or a damn beak sake will go with it - anytime and any place. And that is my quest - the place or origin of the cuisine does not matter. It can be Spanish, Italian, Brazilian or ughhhh British chow and sake will walk the walk. Japan has chickens! Japan has salad! Japan has beef! Japan has spicy and savory dishes! Japan has sweet and salty fare, so why not think about having sake with these "tones" from other countries?
The Sake Challenge is my way for you great consumers to see outside of the sushi paradigm, and to achieve this "new view on brew" I will usually select two different sake styles and price-points and bring them to a non-Japanese restaurant with a celebrity, sake-sleuth or hell even a friend in tow. See past challenges:
- Sake vs. New Orleans fare - yes, Cajun flavors galore - Aug '07 Newsletter
- Sake vs. Italian Jan '08 Newsletter
- Sake vs. Peruvian March '08
- Sake vs. Brazilian April '08
- Sake vs. Middle Eastern July '08
When reviewing restaurants and their specific cuisines paired with sake I use the following criteria:
- Works World Class (WWC)
- Works Well (WW)
- Works (W)
- Does Not Work (DNW)
This criterion is more true to the mission of bringing a beverage to a restaurant not knowing what you will pair with. The point is to make the general pairings "work." Rare is the day that you bring a specific wine or sake to pair with a specific dish - we look for generalities and the entire eating/drinking experience. Think of fishing with a net as opposed to a hook and line - a pairing is supposed to reach out and catch more flavors as opposed to just hitting one match.
And guess what? This month I was spied upon! I was joined! And I was championed by our dear friends at the SF Chronicle. They did a great story covering the goofy dude taking sake into the heart of darkness. If you have not read the article - please enjoy the efforts of our sake pal W. Blake Gray: