Uminoie (Umi No Ie - "um-ee-no-ee-ay") is one of my favorite izakayas in the city for the simple fact that it's hard to find, easy to miss, small, relaxed, and feels like home. Like most izakayas, it's situated on a street rather than an avenue. I'm guessing this is because it keeps the rents down since customers tend to linger for a long time. What makes Uminoie special is that there is almost no signage. I had to go here 4 or 5 times before I knew where on the block it was. I've walked past it more than once while looking for it. For the longest time I thought it was on 5th Street (it's on 3rd).
Hit & Fun Photos
Inakaya is in the ground floor of the New York Times building (231 West 40th Street, just past the Muji store off 8th Ave) near Times Square in Manhattan. If that seems like an unlikely place for an izakaya, it is. This robataya is the U.S. outpost of a Roppongi izakaya of the same name. The “tourism” comes in with their presentation. Food is fussily handed to bar customers and the waitstaff via long wooden handled trays across a wide bar that is decorated with today’s fresh ingredients. Oh and the demonstration making mochi rice balls in which two cooks use large wooden mallets to grind down the rice – out in the dining room.… Read More “Inakaya – High Tourism”
On our last visit they’d added a beer to their menu. At first blush it appears to be a Japanese soba ale direct from Japan. Upon closer inspection, it is Rogue Brewery’s entry into the Japanese Craft Beer craze. It looks to be clearly developed for the Japanese market with Japanese character prominent both on the front label and the back description. Hope that works out for them.
So how is it?… Read More “Rogue Soba Ale”
Nishinomiyako, a kuro koji imo shochu at Rakurakuan in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Mild flavor (for an imo) & went well with a mainly seafood meal. Look for a full review in the future. Of both the shochu and the izakaya!
We found a surprise in a Narita International Airport (NRT) Duty Free shop – an Enma gift pack from Oimatsu Shuzo Co Ltd. Three 300 ml bottles of mugi shochu in three different varieties. The 900 ml is almost ideal for maximizing your 1 litre limit for U.S. duty free, unlike the usual 720 ml bottles. It also gives you a chance to try three very special shochus (explained below).
Enma (閻魔). Enma is the Buddhist King of the Underworld, so naturally Enma comes in a red bottle with black characters. “The Devil” is made with mugi (barley) and white koji and then aged 3 years in whiskey barrels, giving it a golden color.… Read More “Enma Gift Pack”
Good friends of ours were kind enough to make Cioppino for us on our last night in LA. We repaid them with an impromptu shochu tasting from the bottles we had to leave behind.
Far left is Kagura Tensho, which we just reviewed. A nice, smooth soba, barley, and rice shochu.
Far right is an Awamori we reviewed last week, Shimauta.
Next to the Shimauta is my new favorie imo, Kurokame, our first 90+ point shochu.
But what’s that 4th bottle? It’s a mystery. Anyone know? We’ll reveal it soon.
What was the consensus? For our friends who are not familiar with shochu, they were struck by the complexity and variation in just 4 bottles of what is arguably the same spirit.… Read More “Private Shochu Tasting”