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Ode to Saka Gura


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Ode to Saka Gura

Dennison | | Nov 1, 2001 10:10 AM

Well, here I sit this morning still basking in a postprandial glow induced by a fantastic meal at Saka Gura yesterday evening. Ordered from the daily specials of course and had the ankimo (monkfish liver in ponzu sauce), which was so delicately creamy that it rivaled the finest foie gras; soy braised cod so rich it rivals Nobu’s overhyped version; and a deluxe sashimi plate so astoundingly fresh and masterfully assembled that it was certainly one of the best I’ve ever had, especially the roe.

We chose sake sets #5 and #8 (the fragrant ones) and fell in love with Daiten Shiragiku sake – this is liquid Juicy Fruit gum for adults, with all of the luscious flavor burst and none of the cloying sugar. It lost none of its charm when served in a carafe.

This was a perfect meal during a difficult time – a lot of fear in the Manhattan air, but all was washed clean, dissipated by the power of food so intrinsically good and beautiful that everything else faded away. There were Perfect Chowhound Moments – the cold tang of the ponzu sauce yielding to the rich cream of the ankimo in an instant so startling that it was nothing short of culinary satori, and the surprise of finding chewy rice balls among the peach slices in the delicate kanten dessert. This element of delightful surprise is a leitmotif at Saka Gura that builds from the very start as you navigate the unassuming office building lobby, nod at the security guard and hit the fire stairs. I’ve eaten there before, but never appreciated it as much as I did last night. The therapeutic value of the meal didn’t reveal itself fully until afterwards during the walk across town – seemed like all was right with this part of the world for the moment, and I can’t ask for anything better than that.

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