Great stuff guys! Mori’s the best in my book.
Fantastic photos and writeup! In town and will be planning a stop there soon, very looking forward to this.
Just some comments about the sake.
Koshi No Kanbai is one of the best sakes out there, and it’s freaking hard to get it through retail (and for many wholesalers and restaurant folks) because the distributor (based out of Hawaii), World Sake, is very particular who they want to sell their sake to, according to retailers and restaurant owners who deal with them and are in the know I’ve spoken to. Mori Sushi is one of very few places in California where they stock the entire lineup of (exported) Koshi No Kanbai sake (Ginjo, Junmai Ginjo, Daiginjo, and Junmai Daiginjo). Some restaurants can only stock two out of four, or one out of four. I’ve tried all but the Junmai Ginjo and they are seriously good for what you can get in the USA in terms of Niigata sake (that Tanrei Karakuchi profile, which is best described as crisp and dry).
As far as Chotokusen goes, World Sake only exports the 500 mL bottle, but you can buy the 720 mL in Japan. Not sure why they don’t wholesale the 720 mL, but you will feel like you need more after sipping this. This sake is nice cold, but if it is too chilled the characteristics are more muted. It’s even better if you 1) let it breathe a bit for most of your meal without the cap and without letting it sit on ice and 2) let it warm down to room temperature where you get to taste more of the profile (and becomes more apparent over time and even more enjoyable). The brewery actually recommends serving this warm (actually with all their sakes). This particular bottle also goes excellent with homey Japanese fare (e.g. niku jaga/potato stew, braised simmered items (nimono), shabu shabu). What’s even more amazing is that this Daiginjo is brewed with Yamadanishi rice and polished to 30% (I think the American website or even World Sake has the incorrect polish ratio listed as 35 or 40), as great as Niigata rice can be.
Though I have to say my utmost favorite is their Junmai Daiginjo, Kinmuku. Last year the menu price is $200 a bottle at Mori, but I would definitely get this one over the Kimura (Akita prefecture sakes tend to be more floral and aromatic, though good with salty food and lighter flavors). The bottle is certainly not flashy looking, but it’s a powerhouse. Both the Kinmuku and Chotokusen taste so clean, but yet has that undeniable classic Niigata profile. The quality of the water they use to make the sake is reflected in the final product too.
So yes, Mori-san did right by you to recommend this.
Can’t wait to study Mori’s sake menu when I visit next!
Thanks nyc, sir. The Sakura Masu is definitely worth ordering twice lol.
Porkbelly, one other thing that seems variable are the hand rolls. I always enjoyed Mori’s nori they use for the hand rolls but it seems it’s not always served for each visit. Then again we were stuffed lol.
interesting, i don’t think i’ve tried mori’s hand rolls, i’ll have to ask for it next time. what does he put inside?
THAT is a half-square foot of golden heaven.,…
Interesting lesson. Perfect for a post titled “Master Class”.
So it was you that ordered up all of the uni! You should’ve left some for the rest of us.
Hi @beefnoguy K K,
Nice post and thanks for the interesting info on Koshi no Kanbai’s rarity with wholesalers. No wonder I’ve never seen this offered at other local Japanese restaurants.
It is pretty interesting that their Kin Muku Junmai Daiginjo (720 ml) is $200, but the Cho Tokusen Daiginjo we got at only 500 ml was $175. Regardless, it was amazing Sake!
Can’t wait to hear your report!
Damn fine lunch today, more details another time.
One of the highlights, pristine Hokkaido Nemuro uni
Nice looking Hokkaido Uni.
Which Sake did you order? How was it?
Daishichi Houreki Junmai Daiginjo
But it looks like the bottle I got is even more special, according to the red rectangle on the box (not on other images of the box online), this is a Shizuku (gravity drip) and a Genshu (undiluted) sake, and on top of that brewed using the old traditioinal Kimoto method. Supposedly aged a couple years (or more).
Nice! Was the Daishichi Houreki on the menu, or did you bring that bottle in? I must’ve missed it.
Sounds pretty spectacular. How was the overall taste?
Not on the menu. Maru-san loves sake and as we chatted he mentioned he had this last bottle left as I was scratching my head on what to pick, and I almost went for the Koshi No Kanbai Junmai Ginjo (Muku). Ended up having that at Kinjiro earlier tonight instead. So it worked out great in the fact that I got to try both bottles at different locations in town, kind of to scratch off a bucket list. I had already thought about purchasing a Houreki during this trip, just figured why not have it at and with Mori Sushi’s food?
This particular sake (Houreki) is excellent as is for sipping, and perhaps with uni. But the reality is that it clashes if you sip this while halfway through chewing on a piece of nigiri in your mouth and Maru-san already said the same and he was dead right. Nothing wrong with that, this is just the nature of the sake. It’s all subjective in addition in the end, you interpret the way the sake tastes to you based on the profile, the temperature, your mood, and the food you are eating with.
The lower end Daishichi Minowamon Junmai Daiginjo (which Mori Sushi doesn’t carry) is a better choice. Actually the Kokuryu Shizuku Daiginjo, very seasonal and limited (on the sake menu) is a far superior and phenomenal sake to this, with a far more fitting profile for Mori Sushi’s food, to be completely honest here. Koshi No Kanbai Kinmuku might even have been a better choice too in that regard.
Bottom line, a year later after drinking so much sake (and having a much fonder deeper appreciation for it), it makes the exchange with the chefs in town so much more enjoyable, finding the right balance and pairing with food, and I conclude that despite my absolutely dearest to heart favorite nigiri omakase restaurants in SF NorCal, Mori Sushi is still pretty damn fecking excellent and ultra refined. Thus the delicate high end sakes will work supremely well here, they will not intefere with the food, and vice versa.
We had the long plate, not the circular plate above, is the latter for his favorite regulars? We did get a killer chilled abalone served with abalone dashi gelee in abalone dashi (instead of the mozuku) and Hotaru ika Su miso which was very good. Isn’t the fried shiro ebi freaking delicious? The smoked fish also outstanding.
you mean dinner only
It’s interesting to know (but not surprising) that top notch Sake like Houreki might not pair with the sushi.
How was the Koshi no Kanbai Muku compared to their others in the lineup?
Muku is very good, for a Junmai Ginjo it has a Junmai Daiginjo polish ratio of rice (50%, Hakkaisan Junmai Ginjo is similar in that regard) though a touch harsh going down, goes great with izakaya fare. As expected the bottle was already chilled but performed better letting it sit with the cap opened, and even pouring some into a cup and wait for it to warm down to room temperature. Chilled it was good, a touch warmer and it was great.