On April 7, 2016, together with Wining & Dining in Tokyo, Dassai, Japan’s leading sake brewery, held a collaborative kaiseki traditional Japanese cuisine pairing event: Dassai Dinner Vol. 1 at Kafuka of Azabujuban, a kaiseki restaurant nestled in the quiet streets of Azabujuban.
Based in Yamaguchi Prefecture and with a history dating back more than 200 years, Dassai creates smooth and crisp sake that is the perfect complement to traditional kaiseki cuisine.
In addition to a full-course kaiseki pairing menu expertly prepared for the event by owner-chef Daisuke Miyashita guests had the rare opportunity to sample premium sake from the Dassai lineup. Sake selections included the flagship DASSAI 23, which is made with rice polished down to just 23% of its original size, DASSAI Beyond, “the ultra premium sake beyond all expectations,” DASSAI Sparkling and DASSAI 39, a mid-level sake.
Diners were also treated to an information session on Dassai’s history and production methods complete with samples of rice to show the difference in polishing ratios before the fermentation process, which can sometimes take more than a month.
Dassai brewery, which mainly brews daiginjo-shu (top-quality sake), has been pushing the boundaries of sake brewing. The level of rice milling in the top-of-the-line DASSAI Beyond, which sells for upwards of $1,200 per bottle in the United States, remains a trade secret.
To create their signature taste Dassai uses “Yamada Nishiki,” the best rice for sake brewing, milled in their polishing factory. Dassai is also the first brewer to use a centrifuge to separate the sake from the lees for a smoother, cleaner flavor.
DASSAI beyond was paired with flounder, while the more reasonably priced sparkling was served with deep-fried fugu (puffer fish) and mountain vegetables. The meal was wrapped up with a Dessert pomero, cherry tomato compote, topped with a Dassai sake lees cream.
DASSAI Bar 23
For those not lucky enough to make it to the event, DASSAI Bar 23, in the Kyobashi Tokyo Square Garden provides an exquisite sake experience. Guests can try any of Dassai’s sake by the glass. For those unsure of what to try, they offer two sample flights of either three or five glasses for ￥2,100 and ￥3,100 respectively. Take-home bottles are also available to purchase at the shop.
DASSAI Store Ebisu
For the perfect marriage of sweet and sake, the DASSAI Store Ebisu offers an extensive selection of sake chocolates. Although the store has no bar space, tasting is always available.
DASSAI Bar 23/DASSAI Store Kyobashi
B1, Tokyo Square Garden,
3-1 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Bar: Mon-Fri: 11am-2:30pm, 4pm-midnight;
DASSAI Store Ebisu
B2, Ebisu Mitsukoshi
4-20-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: Daily: 11am-8pm
From WINING & DINING in TOKYO #52