March 16, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 6: drunken onion, episode 8

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After an absence lasting more than 3 years, I'm back at my favorite joint in Tokyo. No, this ain't some French restaurant with 3 Michelin stars, nor is it a top sushiya or kaiseki (懐石) temple that's impossible to get to. Instead it is a humble little izakaya (居酒屋) tucked into a quiet reidential neighborhood, which is home to a collection of sake I enjoy very much. Master has run Tamanegiya (酒たまねぎや) for many, many years now, and when he retires next year I will need to find another watering hole in Tokyo.

We came in with a group of 9. I'd never been here with a group this big, and I kinda feel sorry for the other lone customer. Thankfully the gentlemen was very gracious about it, and put up with our rowdiness until he decided he's had enough.

As usual Master brings out a couple of otsumami (おつまみ) for us, starting with these tomatoes from Gunma (群馬) harvest at 9° Brix.

Marinated wasabi greens (花山葵).

Eikun Junmai Daiginjo Tobingakoi (英君  純米大吟醸  斗ビン囲い) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 40%. A little on the dry side. Nose was fragrant and almost a little floral.

I had wanted to, once again, do a side-by-side comparison of Bijofu's Yumebakari and its aged version Yumebakari TIME. Unfortunately Master had run out of TIME, so he offered up an even older bottle from his treasure trove, which was given to him by the toji (杜氏) and happens to his last bottle...

Bijofu Junmai Daiginjo Yumebakari (美丈夫 純米大吟醸 夢許), H19BY - seimaibuai of 30%. Very smooth on the palate, with a little more depth. Really smooth some 2 hours after opening.

Bijofu Junmai Daiginjo Yumebakari (美丈夫 純米大吟醸 夢許), 2022, from isshobin - seimaibuai of 30%. Almost a little fizzy on the palate. Sweet upfront but with a little touch of bitterness at the end.

Isojiman Daiginjo 28 Nobilemente (磯自慢 大吟醸 ノビルメンテ 28), 2019 - seimaibuai of 28%. Nose of banana and fermented rice lees. Pretty sweet on the palate. Soooo fragrant after 1½ hours, with a little hint of Anjou pear.

In keeping with tradition, Master poured us a mini-vertical of Isojiman Adagio, and we ended up sharing these pours.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 Adagio (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35 アダージョ), 2018 - seimaibuai of 35%. More rounded on the palate and definitely more complex.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 Adagio (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35 アダージョ), 2019 - seimaibuai of 35%. Nose also showing banana notes, but this was a little more developed on the palate.

Isojiman Junmai Daiginjo Nakatori 35 Adagio (磯自慢 純米大吟醸 中取り 35 アダージョ), 2020 - seimaibuai of 35%. Nose was kinda open with some banana notes.

Although we already had a big dinner, I felt like snacking... so I ordered up a plate of grilled cuttlefish (焼きいか). I would have preferred a deep-fried version, but grilling was OK.

Master wanted to introduce to us a brewery he really likes, and he thinks this sake punches way above its weight.

Saika Junmai Daiginjo Yamadanishiki (雑賀 純米大吟醸 山田錦) - seimaibuai of 45%/50%. Some banana on the nose. Reasonably good.

Saika Magoichi Daiginjo (雜賀孫市 大吟醸) - seimaibuai of 40%. More complex, more fruity, and really smooth.

Master was having a really good time with us, and we went way, waaay past the official closing time. He even gave me a bottle of the Saika to bring home. I'll need to come back to Tokyo as often as I can in the next year and a half, then...

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