Japanese sake exports have almost tripled in the past decade, while the number of sake breweries in North America has expanded to over two dozen. While there’s no shortage of spots to enjoy this trending beverage across the country, here are five recommendations, from west to east.
Dachi, East Vancouver
This laid–back sake, natural wine and small plates restaurant in East Van is all about easy hospitality and community building. Knowledgeable servers passionate about sake convey the stories behind the craft bottles on offer, while chef Ben Berwick’s Japanese–Jewish background and the restaurant’s relationships with local producers make for creative food and beverage pairings that change frequently. Co–owner Miki Ellis’ 13–year–history in the sake business enables her to source new surprises for regulars, “badass sakes that might be too small for a larger market like Toronto and that only a few sake bars in Tokyo can get,” she explains. One of Ellis’ goals is to show how well sake pairs with non–Asian food. Her team's fave combo: Lomo Saltado (wok–fried bavette with local organic onions, tomatoes and fried potatoes) paired with an 11–year–old aged Kozaemon Honjozo Kimoto sake from Gifu prefecture. The richness of the sake plays off the fermented soy and “takes the pairing to another level,” Ellis says.