It is amazing anyone can find Sakagura, hidden in the basement of a midtown Manhattan office building with barely a sign to point the way. But for 10 years, a steady crowd has flocked to this restaurant, lured not only by its Japanese inn setting and its food, but also by its impressive selection of 200 sakes.
As Hisaya Kadoi, the manager and sake expert responsible for the selection, points out, premium sake gets its individuality from Yamada Nishiki rice, pure water and special yeast, as well as from the area in which it is made (Kanto or Hokkaido, among other locations). Among terms often found on premium sake labels are ginjo, which means the rice was milled to 60 percent of its original size, and junmai, which refers to sake brewed without additives. Rarely found on a sake label is a vintage date. Whether it is served hot or cold depends on the individual sake.
“About 100 of our sakes can be heated,” Kadoi said. “The rest are too delicate to heat. While some sake has 20 percent alcohol, ours go no higher than 18 percent.”
The first sake I tasted, the extraordinary Otokoyama Dai Ginjo ($29 per glass), was silky and medium dry, its aroma reminiscent of green apple and melon.
Next was Yusura Junmai Ginjo ($14 per glass), which was fresh, fuller-bodied and satiny, with a whiff of melon and yeast.
The third was Ryusei Tokubetsu Junmai ($9 per glass). Tokubetsu is a special, pure rice — and the purer the rice, the more body the sake has. This one was indeed full, dry and rich.
Tentaka Ginsho ($33 a glass) was sensuous, smooth, elegant — a super-premium sake.
I went on to Daruma-Masamune ($35 per glass), an aged sake that blends four vintages, the oldest being 1972. It was liquid velvet the color
of cognac, with a hint of caramel.
We finished with Tokimeki ($28 per 300-milliliter bottle) — sweet, light and sparkling, with 8 percent alcohol — a lure for Japanese youth who are drinking less sake. A delightful introduction, yes, but wait until the young discover the real thing.
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Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Even if you are not familiar with Chicago, you may already know the Wicker Park neighborhood is one of the city’s “eat like a local” destinations, especially among young professionals whose idea of local is actually quite global. After a decade of high-concept comfort food and gastro-pubs, the Tan family took over a homey space on North Avenue to mix things up with the opening of Cebu. Cebu is not just a Filipino restaurant, but one focused on Cebuano regional cooking along with its Chinese and Spanish underpinnings.