Walking by Le Zinc on Duane St. last week I noticed that they would be serving "artisanal sake" (their wording) with matching appetizers this week, 5/27-6/1. So, in need of a nightcap after last night's James Brown show in Battery Park (he IS the hardest working man in show business), I figured I'd pop by on the way home.
They've got three different types/brands of sake on the menu, apparently in conjunction with a sake dinner held at Chanterelle last night. I tried the Narutotai Junmai Ginjo genshu, which I found disappointingly one-dimensional. Given that it was brewed in the yamahai style, which tends to result in fuller-bodied sake, I would have expected a little more depth of flavor, but my main impression was "harsh" (genshu, having not had any water added, tends to be higher in alcohol than regular sake). The appetizer that was supposed to go with this was oysters, but as I don't eat oysters, the bartender substituted "shrimp tempura" (it was a really heavy batter--I think "deep-fried shrimp" would be a more accurate way to refer to it). I can't really imagine this sake going well with oysters, either... Something a little heavier, where you needed the acidity of the sake to cut through it, might have worked better.
The bartender also gave me a small taste of the Harushika Daiginjo, which had a very pleasant fruity aroma, but also ended up being not quite to my liking. Maybe last night wasn't my night for sake. Or, after 6+ years in Tokyo, I'm just spoiled. Sometime soon I'm going to have to try Sakagura.
I've linked the Chanterelle sake dinner menu below--9 types of sake. Oof. I do like that Hanahato Kijoshu that they served at the end of the meal...