Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sake no Daimasu, Asakusa (酒の大桝・本店)

Once in a while I like to mix it up, get funky, keep things fresh...unlike all those fraises. And in keeping with the unfortunate hobby I've been submerged in, that means bringing you a liquor shop that I think is particularly good. I go into a lot of shops - all that riding around on the bike, you're bound to see many - but few get anywhere close to the magnificence of Daimasu. This is on Senzoku Dori, the shopping street that cuts through the heart of residential Asakusa, the bit behind the temple. If you're there, make sure to look at the place just south of Daimasu that specializes in copper cooking stuff(s). They're beautiful, albeit mainly in that 'treat it like a museum 'cuz it won't treat your wallet kindly' category.

I'm embarrassed to say that I've never really looked at this fridge of foods. I can only imagine there are some interesting treats, because they're taking the time to have them, and the other range of stuff(s) they're taking the time to have is extraordinary...especially the sake.

Alright, I admit that I didn't look at anything else.

This is all the pasteurized sake.

No it's not. It's only half. Here's some more. What's really nice about this is that it overlaps hardly none with my beloved Echizenya (although being 45 minutes away by bike isn't exactly convenient). The thing I got the first time I wandered in was the green-label Uroko junmai from Azuma Rikishi - the brewer ages their product in caves that were built as bomb shelters during the war. That bottle has been on my mind since I tried it months ago - first time I heated a sake and thought it was awesome - and I finally went back for another. I can't remember much of what else they have, but you can make out Ishitsuchi, Chiyomusubi and Sougen (part of the Oku-Noto group, which translates roughly as "Shit, another region I visited years before I had any interest in sake but that has a bunch of nice little brewers.")

You know though, my limited palate really prefers unpasteurized sake (except now that I've conquered hot sake, maybe pasteurized is next. And tetra-pak sake?), so the fridge is more fun. Here's the fridge...

And here's the fridge 4 months later - it's almost totally different. I love that. At all times, they have a great selection of Amabuki, another thing I love, including 180ml bottles and oddities like their pink sake. The current iteration of the fridge was like they were reading my mind - they had the award-winning Nabeshima that Poshand was nice enough to gift me, they had the sweet birds-and-flowers-and-stream-label Tedorigawa that we had at Konakara, they had the Shigemasu that we had at Suiko...
and I think they'll have different stuff next time I go too.

Or you. What's stopping you?

Fair enough, the fact that it's not near any station might be stopping you. I just want to point out in closing that they have both a wine bar and a sake bar in the more accessible neighborhoods of Asakusa. I've been to the wine bar, and what you can do there is browse the retail section in the basement, pick up, say, a bottle of Sassicaia, and take it upstairs to drink for $5 corkage. Spanish-ish food, pretty decent. It's on the web site above.

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