Subscribe to San Francisco Magazine

Mod Lux Feeds

Now Playing

A Sake for Every Nigiri

Beau Timken of True Sake shares his advice for pairing sake with sushi.

Shirataki Jozen White (Junmai Ginjo) at True Sake
(1 of 3)

Kubota Senjyu 1000 Long Lives (Tokubetsu Honjozo) at True Sake
(2 of 3)

Narutotai Nama Genshu (Ginjo Genshu) at True Sake
(3 of 3)

Further reading:
Raising the Sushi Bar
Why You Should Still Say No to Toro 
Advice for the Nigiri Novice
Selecting the Right Sake
A Visit to SF's Sushi Nazi 

Beau Timken, the owner of True Sake (560 Hayes St., near Laguna St., 415-355- 9555) in Hayes Valley, is celebrating the shop’s 10th year. “For a while, in Japan, the rice beverage with the rice food pairing was considered a no-no because it was thought that you shouldn’t double down on rice,” he says. “But that’s not part of the mentality of modern-day sushi eaters.” Timken’s basic pairing premise is that your sake’s flavor profile should mimic your sushi’s. Look for these sakes at his shop or in restaurants:

Nigiri style: Adorned simply: just fish and rice
Sake style: “You want a light, semi-dry Niigata-style ginjo sake that acts as a subtle partner to the gentle flavors of the fish.” 
Try: Shirataki Jozen White (Junmai Ginjo), $39/720 ml; $16/300 ml

Nigiri style: Dipped in a wasabi-soy puddle
Sake style: “For those who dip their sushi in a lot of soy, clean up the saltiness with a dry, ricey honjozo that helps emphasize the fish.”
Try: Kubota Senjyu 1000 Long Lives (Tokubetsu Honjozo), $28/720 ml

Nigiri style: Tricked out with a lot of ingredients
Sake style: “Come at nigiri topped by big flavors like spicy sauces with a fruity nama genshu, which is usually about 18 percent alcohol.”
Try: Narutotai Nama Genshu (Ginjo Genshu), $35/720 ml

 

Originally published in the October 2013 issue of San Francisco

Have feedback? Email us at letterssf@sanfranmag.com
Email Sara Deseran at sdeseran@modernluxury.com
Follow us on Twitter @sanfranmag
Follow Sara Deseran on Twitter @sdeseran