Welcome to SakaMai! Now drink this sake. Seriously, that's exactly what happens when you walk into this LES celebration of Japanese beverages (alcoholic ones!), which features a mini sake-tasting room before you even hit the hostess stand. Here's the main dining area: a curtained-in, Sharon Stone-less sliver between said front tasting room and the more communal bar, behind which's a mezzanined back area. Their mission: to "demystify" sake and shochu by taking it out of the sushi realm. They do so by offering sips and flights, in addition to top-notch Japanese-style cocktails like this Rikyu w/ rum, green tea powder & soybean flour on the rim. A big part of the experience is also the "art" that gets done right in front of you by Angel's Share vet Shingo Gokan, from a special shaking style, to ingredient mixing (they've got some sweet-ass ceramic containers in which they'll pre-mix stuff like that green tea powder), to, yes, the blowtorching of 200-year-old sugar. For reals. The menu's neither sushi nor izakaya, and is designed to match the sakes with dishes like this oyster trio boasting toppings like wasabi creme fraiche & caviar. And this The Egg on Egg on Egg, which fills a prickly sea urchin with white sturgeon caviar, Maine uni, and "classic scrambled egg". Now, again, drink this sake.
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