You already know that sushi and sake are a match made in heaven, so it’s no surprise that this specialty rice brew also pairs beautifully with all different kinds of seafood. Sake’s wide range of aromas and flavor profiles find an occasion for almost every type of seafood, from briny oysters and pan-seared sole to umami-sweet black miso cod and brightly red steamed lobster.
Nancy Cushman — a certified Advanced Sake Professional for o ya, Covina, Hojoko, and more in her restaurant group that she co-owns with her husband Tim, her business partner and a James Beard Award-winning chef — knows a thing or two about this overlooked sake pairing. “Sake is a delicious and perfect pairing with many seafood dishes well beyond just Japanese sushi and sashimi,” she says. “From East to West Coast oysters to Gulf shrimp to Baja snapper, there is an unexpected sake match out there to be explored and enjoyed.”
Not sure how to pair sake with seafood? Start by familiarizing yourself with the different categories of sake. Sake categories are most easily differentiated by how much of the rice grain has been polished away. Junmai sake, for example, is polished to 70 percent of the grain, which gives it a rich, full body and imparts some umami flavors. The more grain you polish away, the lighter, and more elegant, the sake becomes; for example, honjozo, ginjo, and daijingo sakes are polished to between 70 percent or 50 percent of the grain.
With Cushman’s help, who has sampled sake from coast to coast, we’ve found the sake and seafood pairings in Los Angeles you’ve never thought to try before — until now. Skip the white wine and shake up your usual order by trying a glass (or two!) of different sakes, like a clean and delicately floral junmai daiginjo with raw seafood, a rice-forward junmai with brothy shellfish, or even a supple unfiltered nigori alongside similarly buttery and meaty white fish. Here are the 11 restaurants to head to this weekend and try an unexpected pairing, led by Cushman’s sake expertise.
Learn more about sake and seafood pairings at foodandsake.com.Read More