Much like fine scotch, it takes a connoisseur to appreciate the nuances of good sake. From dry and crisp to sweet and sparkling, the array of sake variations are astounding, and can be quite a lot to handle if one is new to the libation. Here’s a hint: head to one of these fine establishments, close your eyes and point to the menu. Chances are you won’t be disappointed.
1 Tei Tei Robata Bar
The sake bar inside Tei Tei's Robata Bar is a prime see-and-be-seen location, complete with ultra-cool nightly DJs and a list of premium and ultra-premium sakes. Grab a bottle of the very dry Hakkaisan sake ($130), or the super-premium daiginjo sake, served chilled in a wooden box of ice, to go along with your sea bass appetizer.
2906 N. Henderson, 214.828.2400, www.teiteirobata.com
Located inside Victory Park, Kenichi is a local hot spot to hit before heading to the American Airlines center to see a basketball game or concert. Equipped with an awesome sake menu (over 100 varities), Kenichi also whips up some great sake cocktails, such as the Classic Sakitini, with Momokawa Diamond Sake and Grey Goose, for those who like to put a toe in the water before diving in.
2400 Victory Park, 214.871.8883, www.kenichidallas.com
3 Ra Sushi and Sake Lounge
For those living on the North side of town, Ra Sushi and Sake Lounge is the perfect local hangout. Head over for their popular happy hour and get some great sushi rolls with your sake selection. Feel free to sip your sake slowly, even if the table next to you is throwing back sake bombs. You can also try the Sake Flight, comprised of three 2 oz. pours of Kizakura “Pure”, Sho Chiku Bai Nigori “Crème de Sake” and Kizakura “Pure” Stars – ranging from sweet, dry to sparkling.
7501 Lone Star Drive, 469.467.7400, www.rasushi.com
Owned and operated by Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun, the wives of two of Dallas' renowned restaurateurs, Shinsei is a chic, meditative eatery offering sushi and pan-Asian cuisine to go with their extensive wine and sake menu. It's perfect for those who are new to the sake scene, as they list the flavor profiles of eack kind of sake on the menu, from Yuki No Bosha "Cabin in the Snow" (peppery, apricot, melon) to Iki na Onna "Lady Luck" (vivacious, saucy, with a caress of wild honey.)
7713 Inwood Road, 214.352.0005, www.shinseirestaurant.com
5 Sharaku Sake Lounge
Dallas was thrilled to get an Izakaya, a sort of Japanese gastropub down the way from the owner's other venture, Yataka Sushi Bistro. The new Sharaku Sake Lounge offers bite sized morsels, like Shabu Shabu (Japanese Hot Pot) and Kushiyaki (skewered pieces cooked over Japanese charcoal), as well as a healthy list of sake, from draft options to specialty sakes like the Frozen Dewazakura Izumi Judan "Tenth Degree" and Moonstone Plum Wine sake.
2633 McKinney Avenue, Auite 170, 214.999.1330, web.me.com/sharakusakelounge/SharakuSakeLounge/Home.html