Tag Archives: tabelog

DBGB Whole Beast Feast: Pig


Many of you know that I’ve talked about Tabelog in the past, a Japanese food review website that recently launched here in the US. They approached me about helping them to attract new users to the website, so I co-planned and co-hosted a whole beast feast with them at DBGB, where we and a crew of hungry food writers and photographers tore into a delicious suckling pig like a bunch of ravenous carnivores!



This pig, which is sort of like a giant pinwheel or sausage full of various pork cuts, feeds up to 12 guests and comes with salad, grilled flatbread, veggies, pork rinds and Baked Alaska for dessert.






At $575, this is a pretty good value, and you can throw in unlimited select beers and wine for just $30 more per person.





The pig is plated really beautifully when it comes out to the table.



From those shots you can really see the “pinwheel” or sausage thing that I was talking about. It isn’t just a roast pig like you might see at a Flip joint. The meat was really tasty, and consists of all parts of the animal, just packaged and presented in a different way from a standard pig roast. The only downside, for me, was that the skin was not crispy. That’s the best part about roasting pigs!

In any case, I got a bunch of incredible shots of this handsome bastard’s face.



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I even managed to convince some of the dinner guests to pose with the pig’s head. Here’s Doug:


Jesse (@scrumphsus):



Jeremy (@NYCFoodFOMO):


Jay (@TheDishelinGuide):


And Yuka (@TabelogUS):


My boy Ben (@StuffBenEats) was a bit shy and didn’t pose with the pig. Oh well. Next time. I certainly posed with it! This shot was taken by Jay from The Dishelin Guide:

DBGB Jay Zygmunt

And here’s a shot of me getting ready to dig into the nasty bits like the brain, the face meat and the nose, taken by Jesse of Scrumphsus:

DBGB Jesse Hsu

If you’ve got a big group and you’re into this kind of “Carcass Club” dining like I am, then I think you should add this to your list of potentials. It isn’t the best roast pig that I’ve had, but it certainly was pretty tasty and made for a fun night.

299 Bowery
New York, NY 10003



Every so often you find a joint that blows all of your expectations for a particular dish out of the water. Zundo-ya is one of those places.


The folks at Tabelog just held a small tasting event at Zundo-ya’s first US location, nestled in the crux between Union Square and the East Village – literally right around the corner from Ippudo. While Ippudo is great, and may be the spot that’s on more peoples’ ramen radar, Zundo-ya is where all those people should actually be going instead. I’m dead serious. This is my new favorite ramen spot.


Zundo-ya has about 20 locations in Japan, but what makes them stand out here in the crowded NYC ramenscape is the concept of bowl customization. Very few places feature anything that has been truly customized by the diner outside of toppings and add-ons. Here, you can also designate how intense or rich you’d like your broth (thickness, pork fat flavor, etc) and which kind of noodle you prefer (thin, straight; thick, wavy). While many joints may occasionally allow you to swap out a noodle style from what’s listed on the menu, that first metric – broth intensity/richness – is absolutely key for true ramen aficionados.


All too often I order a bowl of tonkotsu ramen and what comes to the table is a watered down, thin, weak-flavored bowl of dish water. That’s pure crap, especially these days, when we seem to be regularly paying upwards of $15 for a bowl. That problem is solved here. Simply order your broth rich or super rich.


I went all-in, with the Zenbunose ramen, which is a tonkotsu ramen with all of the available toppings.


I ordered this thing super rich, and with thick wavy noodles.


While $18 is a bit steep for ramen, I feel this bowl is truly satisfying and fulfilling. It comes with an extra helping of super tender roasted and caramelized chashu pork, a full and deliciously cured soft boiled egg, scallions, bean sprouts, garlic chips, dried seaweed and a blob of spicy paste. The base level version of this, without all the extras, is just $13. That’s not bad at all.


The broth was thick, almost to the level of a velvety chowder or cream-based soup in texture. The fat and salt content wasn’t overwhelming, but it was most certainly present, which is exactly what I want from my ramen. This stuff’ll make you sweat, and it’ll make your heart rate spike, but it is so worth it. The noodles were perfectly cooked and had a good stretch/snap to them as well.

I cooled off with these two excellent Kagua beers. One was darker, less filtered and had a slightly hoppy flavor (the red label), while the other was light, easy to drink and a little less cloudy (white label).


Not only is the ramen great, but this joint also serves up some fantastic sides and salads. This first one comes with bits of pork and cured egg on the edge of the bowl. Really nice touch, and a smart use of ingredients that overlap with the contents of the ramen.


The spicy fried shrimp salad was highly addictive too. The shrimp were nicely cooked with a light and crunchy batter.


And take a look at these buns! These are the very delicious spicy ra-yu pork belly buns, but they also offer a sweeter teriyaki style as well (also good). I’m usually not psyched about bun items in general, but these were pretty good because there was enough meat stuffed inside to balance out the bun with a good ratio.


The stand out starter for me, though, was the karaage; crispy fried chicken. This chicken is so tender that it’ll make you want to stab someone. And what happens when you dip these babies into the little blob of spicy mayo and dry seasonings that come with an order or karaage? Nothing short of an intense flavor explosion in your pie-hole of a mouth.


We even tried a little bit of dessert. This was ice cream with a soft mochi-like rice cake. The ice cream tasted like a really good Carvel soft serve vanilla, which is high compliments since that is my favorite thing on the planet for dessert.


I’m really excited about this place. And so is Tabelog. And Zundo-ya is excited that us blogger fools are excited as well; so much so that they’re giving out free gyoza (fried dumplings) to anyone who comes in between now and August 15th, 2016 and mentions “Tabelog” when ordering. Do it. I know I’ll definitely be back, especially given the fact that, unlike so many other NYC ramen joints, this place actually has elbow room and a comfortable amount of dining space.

84 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003



Tabelog hosted another press dinner with a collection of about 30 NYC food bloggers, influential instagrammers and publication writers. This time the event kicked off at Andanada, a Spanish tapas joint on the upper west side.

DSC01355 andanada


Michelin rated chef Manuel Berganza popped off a string of really tasty bites in this multi-course tapas tasting in a rustic yet upscale setting that elevates tavern food to the fine-dining  level.

DSC01496 andanada

DSC01370 andanada

Since there’s a lot to talk about, I’m just going to get right down to business and tell you what we ate. Read on:

First was this shot of warm butternut squash cream. It was velvety smooth, but I think it could have used just a small hit of salt.

DSC01377 andanada

This cleverly displayed flower pot of purple endive was a nice fresh snack. Endive is traditionally served before or after meals to aid in digestion. It was served with a blue cheese spread.

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Next was this little manchego cheese stuffed “puff” airbag of flatbread that included a little hit of quince fruit jam as well. Beautiful presentation and a delicious bite!

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Table bread consists of a very nice foccacia style bread (but without the annoying herbs and oily toppings). This was addicting!

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This next item was one of my favorites of the night. It was a soft boiled quail egg served on a fried potato nest with chicken liver pate. SO DELICIOUS! The crunch of the potato nest, the ooze of the egg yolk and the richness of the pate made for a really dynamic bite.

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These little guys are creamy mushroom duxelle croquettes with a marinated mushroom cap on top. They burst with flavor!

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These are potatoes. My guess is something like fingerling, since the shape is small and round. They’re fried to a crisp and then served with three sauces: a garlic aioli, a spicy sauce and a sweet sauce. I preferred the aioli (also went nicely on the bread), but I think the potatoes could have benefited from a hit of salt right after they came out of the fryer.

DSC01435 andanada

Next was fried (but not heavily breaded) calamari with eggplant mousse. The calamari was incredibly tender and perfectly cooked. The eggplant I could skip, because I am generally not a fan of eggplant, but I did like the texture of the mousse much better than the flesh of the actual vegetable itself.

DSC01431 andanada

My other favorite dish was this octopus terrine, which was served over whipped potato foam and broccoli rabe puree. SO TENDER. This went fast and seemed to be a favorite with everyone else as well. I considered asking for a second plate.

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These fried artichokes don’t look glamorous, but they taste great. They were crispy outside, soft inside and nicely accented with shaved manchego cheese and a cream sauce.

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Another great item was the salmon tartare potato salad. In addition to the raw diced salmon on top, there was peas, salmon roe, hard boiled egg and (obviously) potato within. Very interesting take on traditional salmon tartare.

DSC01454 andanada

A Spanish classic is “albondigas,” or meatballs. These were accompanied by pickled celery, carrot puree and trinxat: a mashed potato item typically married with cabbage and pork.

DSC01460 andanada

Another big crowd pleaser, and staple Spanish classic, is paella. This seafood paella was our final savory course. It had a great crispy texture to the rice, from sticking to the bottom of the pan while cooking. It came with clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp and fish. Very nicely executed.

DSC01469 andanada

DSC01472 andanada

The first dessert I tasted was this caramelized egg yolk flan with citrus gel, green apples and dried meringue. The texture was super smooth and creamy. If you’re a fan of custards, you’ll love this.

DSC01491 andanada

The other dessert was my favorite of the two: almond cake with raspberries and olive oil gelato. This was perfect for me. It wasn’t too sweet to the point of being overpowering, and the cake was moist without being too dense. The gelato was a great accent to a great cake. I highly recommend this if you’re undecided on dessert.

DSC01486 andanada

To sum up, I haven’t been to that many tapas places. Maybe half a dozen over the course of my adulthood? Maybe ten? While I am no expert, I think this comes in on the upper end of the few that I’ve tried to date. This joint is located near my apartment as well, so I’m sure I’ll be back again soon.

Osteria del Principe

Tabelog hosted another great food event, this time at Osteria del Principe, an Italian cured meat-centric spot down by the Flatiron building.



The restaurant/store is the flagship location, and is run by Principe di San Daniele, a world class prosciutto manufacturer in Italy. So you know you’re getting top notch meats here when you eat.


Tabelog invited a bunch of us ass-kicking NYC food bloggers and reviewers to mix and mingle while tasting some really nice meats and wines. Here’s a menu of things we tasted:


As you can see from this sheet, we were asked to rate and judge the various sliced meats and wines:


First I created a nice cushioned base with a bite or two of freshly baked focaccia bread:


Here’s my second (or was it third?) plate of meat. I needed to try everything a few times to figure out my rankings.


I ultimately put the truffle ham in first place, followed by the 20-month prosciutto and mortadella right behind. Then the 16-month prosciutto, with the speck being at the bottom. Surprising! That truffle ham really had an amazing flavor that wasn’t overpowering. It was a cured meat.

Here are some shots of the two ham slicings. The ones with the brownish edge is the rosemary ham, and the other is the truffle ham:



This board has the speck on the left, and the mortadella on the right:


As you can see, there was a fancy old fashioned hand crank meat slicer set up with the 20-month prosciutto.






The slices were served in little paper cones:





I really couldn’t get enough of those. So good: soft, not too salty, and really nicely flavored. One of the gents from the Gotham Burger Social Club fashioned one meat cone into a lapel flower for his suit jacket. Brilliant!


So that was just the sliced meats that were laying around for our consumption. There was also a huge wheel of cheese that was being sliced/scraped and shoved into little brown paper bags for snacking. “Raspadura” Bella Lodi:




The tomato and burrata caprese salad was refreshing and light, with a great herb kick:



The prosciutto and melon was a perfect balance of sweet, savory and juicy all in one bite. These were amazing, not to mention gorgeously plated/presented:




This polenta was wrapped with speck and then baked until crispy. Absolutely delicious! I need to try making this at home now:


The grilled octopus skewers were a nice break from the pork overload. Wait.. is there even such a thing as pork overload? Anyway, they were warm and charred to a nice half-crisp texture, and accompanied by slices of grape tomato:


The slices of Piadina (bread portion) with porchetta inside were really awesome too. Especially when topped with some of the freshly scraped cheese. This meat item may have been the best of the day. I almost wish it was showcased differently, because I feel like it got missed by some of the other bloggers.


Lastly, the house-made tagliolino pasta was set in a light cream sauce and cooked with the 16-month prosciutto, then topped with a nice slice of it. Fucking amazing. The prosciutto was allowed to season the whole dish without any extras needed, other than some finely minced herbs and a little fresh pepper. So simple, yet so good.



All around awesome meal, and I was happy because it was extremely meat-centric. The wines were pretty good too, specifically the Ribolla Nera, which was a red wine that had robust flavor but was still lighter on the palette.


There were even some Italian cosmetic samples and creams handed out as parting gifts. I let my wife go for that. I was’t really interested.


27 E. 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010


I had the pleasure of being invited to another awesome food party event hosted by Tabelog. Here’s a fun shot of some of the people who run the shit here in NYC:


This time, the location was Alphabet City Asian fusion restaurant Tuome, which is run by fellow Long Island boy-made-good, Chef Thomas Chen. It’s gotten a great deal of good press lately in the food world, and now I understand why.


When I asked him about what inspired him to craft this sort of menu, he said, “It’s all based on things I grew up eating.” Long island is a mixed bag, at least in some parts that are closer to the five boroughs. Lots of cultural fusion happens naturally there, so it makes sense. But the execution of these concepts was spot on. I was impressed with this young dude’s skills.

Well hang on a sec… I’m getting ahead of myself. First we had some cocktails that were specially made for the night:

Fire in the Sky – sake, thai chili, yuzu.


Tuome City Limits – sherry, kina, Chinese five spice


East Village Blossom – brut rose, hibiscus, blood orange


All three were fantastic, but since I have a pair of ball between my legs, I’d have to say that the Tuome City Limits was my favorite of the three. The other two were incredibly tasty as well though.

Okay now back to the food. Here’s a composed plate of all the items we sampled. Everything here is on the menu with the exception of the oxtail roll.


First was the beet with quinoa, five spice yogurt and pumpkin seed. This was a really fresh bite of food, with a crunch texture and complex flavors to mix things up.


Next was the chicken liver mousse spread onto milk bread and topped with NY maple. Fucking delicious. So smooth and decadent, yet light.


Then I had the oxtail egg roll with cumin mint dipping sauce. This was one of my favorites of the night.


There was a really delicious blue crab mac and cheese too, with karee and mascarpone. I could eat this shit all day long. In fact, I wish more steakhouses would swap king crab and lobster mac and cheese dishes out for blue claw. Them shits be better, yo.


Next favorite of the night was the crispy fucking pork belly. Hoooolyyyyyyy shiiiiiiit was this good. Before the water pulled away I tried three. One with no sauce, and one with each of the two sauces they were serving it with. One was a mignonette style, and the other was tomato based, I think.


The last savory item was a soon-to-be wildly famous crispy fried deviled egg with chili. This was by far the ultimate winning dish of the night. Unbelievable. So tasty. Creamy, crunchy, with a little spicy kick to it. Perfect. I apologize for the blurry photo. I was so excited that I started furiously jerking while trying to shoot the photo. Needless to say I was shaking a little.


And finally, there was an ice cream filled beignet. It was more like a cream puff to my taste buds, but filled with ice cream and sweet red bean instead of cream filling. It definitely reminded me of some classic Asian desserts, but with a cream puff twist to it. Nicely done.


It was a really fun night. As always, the folks at Tabelog always make us bloggers feel like kings and queens, putting us at the center of attention. They’re a great crew, and the website is truly a great resource for your dining research needs. Here’s a shot of all the bloggers with some of the Tabelog peeps:

tabelog NYC

UPDATE: Photos from the “Pig Out” meal.













536 E. 5th St.
New York, NY 10009

Tabelog Event At Maison O

The good folks over at Tabelog saw fit to invite me to once again join them for one of their elite tasting events. This time, the event was at Maison O in SoHo to celebrate Japanese department store Isetan’s newest pop-up store that was open in SoHo for fashion week, in line with Japan’s “Nipponista” movement.

What is “Nipponista,” you ask? It’s part of a Japanese project called “Cool Japan” that was created to spread Japanese fashion, design, art and food throughout the world. “Cool Japan” and “Gross National Cool” became slogans for Japan’s growing and expanding cultural movement, which eventually arrived here at NYC fashion week.

Chef Tadashi Ono, the former executive chef of Matsuri, presented his culinary creations at the Tabelog event. We enjoyed a special tasting menu of Dashi and Agar, along with Mizubasho sake pairings. As with any good meal, you start out with some booze. Our official booze man was Shoichi Nagai, of the Mizubasho brand. Here is a shot of him explaining the differences between some of the sake we tasted:


See below for the mouth-watering images of our meal and sake pairings.

First we had some sparkling sake with dashikarikori-kan (dashi jelly) with black truffle, sitting on a slice of radish and topped with scallion. The sake was like champagne, only better, because I hate champagne and I love sake. The dashi was earthy, had a really nice meaty texture, and it delivered a great crunch from the radish.




We also had a Kumamoto oyster with ponzu ice to go along with the with sparkling sake. It was tart, with a sour, grapefruit type of finish, but very crisp and clean.


Then one of the dashi specialists explained to us the difference in miso soup that uses just miso + water versus miso + dashi, and he showed us the two main components of dashi (kombu kelp and katsuobushi/benito flakes). We were easily able to taste a vast world of difference between the two cups of miso. The miso + dashi was way more rich, earthier, and generally much more awesome.






Next came the fish course: black cod with a sake and dashi-kanten gravy (dashi plus agar for thickening and flavor). It was paired with a cold-aged, 2-year sake that was crisp and complex. We drank it from two cups (one glass and one tin) and the type of cup you drink from actually alters the flavors. Tin cup is much better. As for the cod; the aroma was amazing, and the flavor was light but powerful. It was cooked perfectly.



Our next course was beef rib eye with caramelized onion and grilled rice ball. NOW we’re talking! The onions were the real star here. They were minced and delicious. The dish came with a grilled shishito pepper too, which was nice and smokey. The steak was slightly over-cooked, but still very tasty and tender. I didn’t mind at all. The rice ball was crisped like it was grilled on the same surface as the beef, and it even retained a little of that meaty flavor from whatever it picked up off the grill. The sake pairing was a 2004 vintage, 10yr cold-aged sake that was limited quantity (only 40 bottles remain). It was clean and easy to drink, light, flavorful, and paired remarkably well with grilled meat even though it wasn’t as robust as a red wine.



For dessert we had a sweet, 2009 dessert sake that was reminiscent of ice wine. They said it would pair nicely with everything from sweets to fois gras and even uni or salmon roe. I could see it for the uni, as the taste was somewhat aromatic and perfumed, as is uni. This was presented with a coconut panna cotta and green tea tiramisu. The tiramisu had great flavor, and the panna cotta was firm and packed a lot of punch for something that looked so light.



Then chef Ono came out to greet us and talk with us.


And here’s a decor shot for the road:

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And a list of the menu items we had, just in case you are keeping track:


You can see a quick video of the event HERE, although the page itself and most of the video contents are in Japanese. Unfortunately my incredibly handsome face didn’t make it into the edited clip. It could have benefitted from my gorgeousness, or at least from that of my stunning wife.


Tabelog Event at Jukai

Last night Tabelog hosted another incredible event for their elite team of prized food bloggers. They’ve set out to choose some of the more secret spots around NYC to host these things, as evidenced by their selection of Jukai, a very small, discrete Japanese joint on 53rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. My wife and I were blown away by how great the food was. To top it off, the event was sponsored by Asahi beer, so we got to sample some of their very popular super dry (goes nice with seafood) and dark (pairs well with beef) varietals. If the tasting/sampling is any indication of what an actual sit-down meal is like here, then I highly recommend that you reserve a table ASAP. You won’t be disappointed.

Okay so here’s the Food Pr0n in picture form:

First, the assorted starter. Pickled mushroom and onion, egg omelette with spinach, squid with sea urchin, smoked duck, and Jamon Iberico on top of persimmon. As you might have guessed the Iberico was my favorite portion of this plate, followed closely by the duck.

Then came my absolute favorite of the night – beef carpaccio. But not your ordinary beef. It was smokey, aged, and incredibly unique in flavor. And look at that fucking marbling…

Next, the mains. Salmon marinated in sake and then broiled, served with a grilled Shishito pepper. Very tasty. I usually dislike cooked salmon, but the experts at Jukai managed to keep the meat orange/pink inside for a beautiful rare temperature inside with a nice crisp on the outside…


Followed by Spanish mackerel with ground radish…

Then my wife’s favorite – a gigantic pacific oyster with all sorts of good toppings (I took this down in one bite)…


And a steaming bowl of garlicky shabu shabu with beef and cabbage.

For dessert we had a sampling of four delicious items: black tea panna cotta (my wife’s favorite), white sesame blancmange (almost like a pudding), creme brulee (my favorite), and chocolate truffles.

237 E. 53rd St.
New York, NY 10022

Tabelog Event at SakaMai

I’ve been meaning to yap it up about Tabelog for a while now, but the timing is perfect now for this entry. Basically, in a crude and overly simplified description that cheapens what I mean to say, Tabelog is the Japanese version of Yelp – only a shitload better. In Japan, Tabelog is 5x larger than Yelp; they dominate the food review market. The company has recently endeavored to break into the US and global market, with their first state-side stop being NYC, of course. That’s where Johnny Prime comes in. The awesome folks at Tabelog recognized my manliness and contacted me (and other well known and influential food bloggers) to be a part of the process – to give input on the website, to act as the voice of the user, etc. And most fun for us foodies – they also asked us to be judges for their NYC restaurant awards. Of course I fucking jumped at the opportunity to voice my opinion on things; namely, their “best steakhouse” category… Which, sadly, went to Peter Luger… Yeah… BOO… HISS… I was a bit surprised too… Oh well. Clearly some of the people who voted on this category need to get out to some different steakhouses, or they need to thoroughly read my site. I guess this just means that my important work must go on. I have more to do… Thankfully, Tabelog provides another great format and outlet for my manliness to disseminate to the world abroad. So thank you Brock and Ken for taking me into the fold. I’m honored, humbled, and thrilled to be a part of this.
Anyway… After being introduced to the newly launched US website I found that I REALLY liked the format. Not only that, but Tabelog allows food and restaurant reviewers a hell of a lot more control over the content and overall look of their reviews. Tabelog was smart to make the review process personal, so that you can almost get to know the writers just as much as the restaurants. Reviewers on Tabelog have their own little corner of cyberspace to stand on their milk crate and shout out their unique message; it’s kinda like Facebook meets restaurant reviews in a way. Meanwhile, Yelp has a whole shitpile of obnoxious restrictions like no use of hyperlinks, no self promotion, no mention of your website anywhere in your reviews, image restriction this, content restriction that… To some extent I understand the concern, but it has gotten a bit ridiculous lately. Yelp also doesn’t allow for embedded images in the body of the review, and they also hide or block certain reviews based on some fucked up algorithm that they THINK works to weed out what they perceive as “biased” reviews from tainting the process. Good intentions, but the reality is that many times this “feature” actually HARMS small businesses; I’ve seen it happen with people that I know who run small shops. Even despite numerous efforts by these small businesses to contact Yelp to alert them of problems or attempt to rectify situations, Yelp ignores, or pulls out some pre-conceived, pro-forma, bullshit-laden excuse/rationale. Tabelog has none of these ridiculous issues. Whoever is running the Tabelog tech is a fucking wizard, and the layout, user interface, and intuitive organizational nature of the site simply blows away the competition. Granted it is still new here, and things are just starting to heat up for them in NYC, but MAN do they show promise… I’m really looking forward to their explosion into the US market. And it’ll be fun because I’ll be there for the wild ride. Exciting.
So now, literally, to the meat and potatoes… Last night Tabelog threw an event for their NYC judges at the incredible SakaMai restaurant; a real deal legit Japanese place on the lower east side. The Tabelog folks were cool enough to let me bring my wife as well, who, as you might already know, is The Cake Dealer and also an awesome food blogger herself. The food at SakaMai was off the hook – pretty much perfection. Check out the pics and captions below.
First is the menu. Pics of the dishes go clockwise from bottom left:
Here is the carrot puree with dashi gelee and summer truffle. At first I thought it was some kind of uni puree based on the color and bright, brine flavor. This was one of the most delicious items of the night. I think I sucked down three of these mutherfuckers.
Next is the meat: filet mignon tartare with uni, wasabi mascarpone, and poached egg. I had three of these too. Hands down one of the better tartares I’ve ever had. It was earthy, it had great texture, and the poached egg introduced just the right amount of fat back into the dish.
Now for the trout and caviar sushi. I only had one of these, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It was delicate, but full of great flavor. Very clean, crisp and refreshing.

Lobster croquettes with lardo iberico and sansho peppers. I went back for seconds here. Just a great, soft yet powerful punch of velvety flavor inside that crispy fried outer shell. And sitting on a little puree of potato.


Now for more meat – this time a chicken + fois gras burger. Fucking delicious. I only had one, but I could have put away a dozen of these fuckers quick and easy – so quick it would rival my old drunken 3am White Castle runs. And I don’t care what you say: White Castle sliders rule. Just don’t save any in the fridge overnight or else the next day the entire appliance will smell like rotting trash.


MORE MEAT! Iberico pork on a bed of farro salad. My first bite was extremely chewy but I think that’s because I got one of the fatty/gristled ends. My next two servings were perfect. When I first saw the color of the slices I thought I was dealing with flank, skirt or strip steak: a nice pinkish center. But when you delve into high quality pork, the “other white meat” can be served a little less cooked. This was some yummy shit:


Dessert: strawberry compote with mascarpone and a truffled balsamic drizzle. Fuck the strawberry though. It was great but I could drink that fucking cream all day. I’d rub that shit all over my face and gobble it down like Jenna Jameson if I had to.


Now onward to the booze! SakaMai offered us up a delicious selection of sakes, served up by some serious sake experts – so serious that they are called samurai. Serious. No joke. But seriousness aside, the one samurai we spoke to was hilarious, reciting jokes about the history of certain drinks.


We tasted a nice array of some very different sakes and booze. Below are two pics: one of our favorite sake, which was very clean, crisp and pure… Then a spicy plum alcohol which was accompanied by a funny story told by the sake samurai.



And last but not least, the talent and brains behind it all. First Tabelog: this is a shot of Brock (left) and Ken (right) telling us about the company’s plans and how we fit into the equation.


Next is SakaMai owner Natalie (left) and Chef Akiyama (right), who told us a lot about their restaurant and fielded a wide array of questions from us food nerds.


157 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002