The Sake bar is located at the back of the Mitsukoshi store and is really something special. The Japanese culture alone is worth a stop. The preparation to pour a drink is about a minute and a half of cleaning and careful placement of items.
Wakatake (dry sake) - $6
Has a savory aroma as well as aroma of wild fruits.
Tenryo Koshu (vintage sake) - $7
Aged in celler to develop a profound and refined taste. A soft, slightly tannic entry leads to a dry-yet-fruity flavor.
Yuzu (flavored sake) - $5
Packed with tanginess and a pleasant sweetness, this blend of junmai sake and yuzu citrus juice will uplift your spirits.
Hana Awaka (sparkling sake) - $4
Its refreshing sake brings your taste buds alive with a cheerful balance of bursting sweetness.
Kairakuen (plum wine) - $5
Its authentic Japanese plum liqueur made from the finest Japanese green plums, shochu, and pure mountain water.
Shirakawa Go (unfiltered sake) - $6
Its milky-white sake produces a unique sensation when it passes through palate and throat.
Miyasaka (mild sake) - $4
Its charming with it faint taste of wild plum...It is smooth and gentle, with sweetness and acidity in finely etched balance.
Kurosawa (medium dry sake) - $6
Well-balanced between creaminess and food-friendly acidity. Medium-bodied and finishes with a nice smoothness on the plate.
Izumi Judan (extra dry sake) - $6
Extra dry sake that keeps it's distinct dry gin-like characteristics even through a gentle heating...Delicious and well crafted.
Himezen (sweet sake) - $10
Sweetness and bitterness are very balanced by a slight aroma and citrus flavor.
They also do a "Sake of the Month" and special sake cocktails that change on a regular basis.
(By the way, these 'unique' sake descriptions came straight off of their menu)
Where to begin . . . Let's just agree you will not find more outrageous snack foods anywhere else - well, besides Japan. You'll find tons of individually packaged snack items ranging from pretty tame stuff, like wasabi peas, shrimp crackers and dried soy beans, but you'll also find some things that don't look quite so pedestrian, like dried squid, tiny whole fish, and tiny marsh crabs that are meant to be eaten in one bite. The Japanese claim the squid, which is dried and shredded with a similar consistency to shredded beef jerky, is an "essential" component to a night of drinking beer. The snacks range from about $3 - $6 and I'm sure you'll agree that your vacation just isn't complete without having tried something strange from the Mitsukoshi store.
This is our favorite pavillion for interesting shopping. It's easy to get immersed into the culture as you wander through the chain of stores.
The plum wine is always a favorite - if you partake, make sure you eat the plum! Good plum wine is pretty sweet, but not like sucking on a lollipop, and it's nicely balanced by a bright acidity. You'll find a huge selection of sake bottles to purchase and a good variety served at the sake bar. This is an excellent sake experience for the sake virgin or the sake, um, well, whatever the opposite of virgin would be, I guess. The plastic cup that used to be included for free will now run you two bucks. If you do buy one, they'll write your name in Japanese on the bottom for you.
Muscat Cocktail - Here's an interesting drink that was one of their specials. This cocktail consists of a medium-dry sake mixed with a grape soda - that actually has whole grapes in it! Now that makes for a unique presentation! If this is available when you stop by we recommend it for something different.
The Sake bar has a sampler offer for $13.99. The offerings for the sampler change on a somewhat regular basis which makes this a good option to try a few different sakes.
The three that we tried (from left to right):
"Silver Medal Winner of World Wine Championships. Dry-yet-fruity with a medium body taste. That finishes with apple and walnut flavor."
Mu Dai Ginjyo (Medium)
"Winner of Gold Medals in the monde Selection, 8 consecutive years. Fruity, dry and perfectly balanced."
Snow Beauty (Sweet)
"Non-filtered sake with rich flavor and mellow finish that is rich and sweet."
Review: "Snow Beauty" first caught our eye over on the shelf. Through the little frosted blue bottle you could see the sake was completely separated, thick, white and cloudy on the bottom and clear sake floating on the top. When picked up the two layers played together like a lava lamp, clearly showing the ying and yang this potent potable possessed. After a good shake the layers happily combine into one interesting drink. Once we spotted this guy on the sampler, it was the best excuse I've had for a good splurge in awhile! (Like I need one!)
This was our first unfiltered sake so we didn't know quite what we were in for. The verdict? Delicious! Slightly sweet, creamy and smooth and the slightest hint of what to our tropical pallate defines as fresh coconut milk. Enjoy this smooth unfiltered sake chilled with none of the sometimes common tongue-burning aftertaste a typical sake possesses. Unfortunately the other two didn't fare as well. Bland and flavorless isn't winning any awards from PTTP. Nothing I'd waste a stamp to write home about. Like cheap vodka, it'll get the job done, but is that what you're looking for at this price?
Sure, we could've bought the entire bottle of Snow Beauty for the price of the sampler, but hey - we don't get the fun Japanese presentation at home!