Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Joy Of Sake, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA

September 9, 2004 Hotel Nikko San Francisco, 222 Mason Street, SF, CA,
Tickets $65 per person

Visit The Joy of Sake Website here

Myself, F, and girlfriends MB and P planned to meet at the Nikko Hotel to try out some sake at a tasting organised by 'The Joy of Sake'. Apparently this yearly event is the largest Sake tasting in the world outside of Japan. There certainly were a lot of sake's to try. The following two photographs show only the sakes not usually available in the US. Beyond this table were several others packed jam-full of Sakes that are available Stateside.

I don't know a great deal about sake, but after trying several of the hundreds on offer I think I decided I prefer the more rustic junmai Sakes over the more floral, fruity, sweeter ginjo and daiginjo.

P, surrounded by a crowd of Sake fans, tastes one of the many Sakes on offer.

Several Bay Area restaurants were providing food for the event in the form of little tasters and appetizers. Here are my notes about some of them...

101 Golf Course Dr. (Rohnert Park
Phone: (707) 586-0270
Hana dished up my favourite taster of the event. A pile of glistening, deep red, spicy tuna with seaweed flakes and a crispy wanton. Perfectly balanced and fresh, I was amazed to see resolute non-fish-eater, F, polish off no less than 3 plates of this tasty appetizer.

Memphis Minnies
576 Haight Street
Phone: (415) 864-7675
Slow-Smoked Texas Beef Brisket, smoked 18 hours. Succulent, tasty, crumbly, juicy slices of beef served on a tiny round of bread. My first impression was that this tasted incredible. I had never tried Bar-B-Que before so it was a new sensation for me. The second piece didn't present such a favourable impression as the first and soon the smokey flavour began to repeat on me. It was great to try, but I am not sure I would enjoy eating a portion larger than the little taster we had this evening.

Hotel Nikko San Francisco
222 Mason Street
Phone: (415) 394-1100
Anzu's contribution to the event were tiny, canape-sized tartlets filled with spicy beef. I surmised these would have been even more delicious if the pastry had been a little less buttery, if the beef melange had dared to be more brave with the spice, and if the appetizer had overall been less rich. (Was there mayonnaise mixed in?)

Sakae Sushi Bar & Grill
240 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010
Phone: (650) 348-4064
There was a large queue at the Sakae Sushi Station because the restaurant was giving away no less than 3 different pieces of nigiri sushi; salmon, tuna and hamachi. The fish quality wasn't great, especially the Hamachi which was still frozen and as such completely inedible. Committed no-fish-man, F, tried his first ever piece of sushi (tuna), and declared that he quite liked it. Excellent, not much longer before I can trick him into sitting down to an entire sushi dinner then...?

101 2nd Street Suite 100
Phone: (415) 777-0277
I have heard about Roy's but never eaten there. Their display was quite stunning and colourful. They were handing out little fusion appetizers of sushi rice topped with a golden yellow saffron-soaked scallop. I can't exactly recall the breadth of the ingredients in this dish. I do, however, recall that it tasted completely freaky. I like that people try to be adventurous and innovative with non-traditional mixing of flavours and tastes, but when the result is this bizarre my advice would be to forget all about it and move on.

A display of Fish from IMP Foods
The Joy Of Sake, Hotel Nikko, San Francisco, CA


  • At 15/10/08 03:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very informative. No need for GOOGLE search too :)

    I have taken a printout. Thanks

    mgmgrand - Hotel,Reservations,rooms booking,stay,room accomadation

  • At 15/1/09 02:04, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I will sharing my expereience.
    I went there and entered the main ballroom of San Francisco's Hotel Nikko on Thursday night for the Joy of Sake tasting. Several thousand people packed into the ballroom, and the hallways, and the side rooms to taste nearly 200 different sakes and to sample foods from some of the Bay Area's top Japanese. Is this the Best Sake In The World?


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