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.
157 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
SakaMai's a LES celebration of Japanese beverages... make that alcoholic beverages! The goal of this joint is to demystify sake by offering it in approachable sips, flights, and cocktails. The food's made to compliment each drink, think wine tasting but with sake.