Yamahai at Ozumo

By | March 4, 2008

A good friend had a birthday dinner this weekend in the sake tasting room at Ozumo in San Francisco. The sushi was wonderfully fresh and delicious. We also ordered a few items from the Robata grill that were fantastic. The real standout for me was the seared Dayboat scallops on shimeji mushroom risotto. I could eat that every night.

I’m not a sake expert, but my recent interest in lambics (a type of beer brewed in Belgium that is fermented via wild yeast) led me to more carefully read a recent article in the SF Chronicle about yamahai, or sake fermented with wild yeast. Although the article compares sake to wine, sake is technically a beer because it is made from a grain. Wines are made from fruit.

After asking our waiter about yamahai, he recommended I try a glass of Masumi Nanango. It’s a little expensive at $19/glass (or $135 a bottle), but it was by far the best sake I’ve ever had. The flavor was extremely complex and rich, but with a very delicate, acidic dryness that wonderfully complemented the food. So I had to have another glass.

And if that weren’t enough, every visit to the bathroom includes Japanese lessons.

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