HONOLULU, HAWAII — Fifteen Hawaii restaurants have been selected to showcase a mouthwatering selection of appetizers at The Joy of Sake. This signature event is the largest sake tasting held outside of Japan, providing Hawaii with a rare opportunity to experience the world’s finest sakes in peak condition. The Asian and Pacific Rim-style appetizers, prepared by some of Honolulu’s top chefs, have been designed to perfectly complement the spectacular range of flavors and nuances found in the best sakes. It is this interplay between exquisite sakes and delicious appetizers that continues to draw guests each year, establishing The Joy of Sake as one of Honolulu’s most anticipated events.

The restaurants and appetizers are:

  • Chai’s Island Bistro                   Sautéed Escargot with Prawns in a Chili Ginger Sauce
  • Doraku                                         Seared Tuna with Asian Salsa
  • Gyotaku                                       Smoked Salmon Bacon. Warm over Salad w/ a Timbale of Rice Topped with Ikura
  • Hakkei                                         Chicken “dumpling”, Mountain Yam, Chinese Cabbage, in Hakkei‘s Oden Broth
  • Halekulani, Lewers Lounge   Braised Beef Chuck with Oxtail Broth and Cilantro Puree
  • Hoku’s                                         Asian Braised Beef Medallion on Truffle Potato and Shichimi-dusted Lotus Chip; Char-Broiled Sake Kasu Marinated Black Cod on Red Bean Rice Cake and Grilled Green Onion
  • Morimoto Waikiki                    Seared Scallop on a Chinese Spoon w/XO Sauce, Tokyo Negi/Ginger Garnish
  • Marian’s                                     House-made Dumplings of Pork, Tofu, Shiitake and Yama Gobo braised in konbu dashi
  • Rumfire                                       Spicy Ahi Poke with Maui Onion Sambal and Kahuku Sea Asparagus
  • Kai Market                                 Salmon Belly “Anikmo Pate”, Cucumber Fennel Fettuccini w/Ikura, Kim Chee Aioli
  • Yoshi-ya                                        Autumn Tempura Medley with Kabocha, Eggplant Zucchini and Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Banzai Sushi Bar                        Grade A Yellowtail, Ahi Sashimi w/Sweet Ginger Sauce, Garnish of Shiso, Microgreens
  • Genius Lounge                           Mentaiko Paste in Kombucha Cream Sauce with Nori and Julienne Cucumber Garnis
  • Umami Café                                 Temaki Sushi with Ahi, Crab and Lobster
  • Cakeworks                                    Caramel French Macaroons

The Joy of Sake is the public tasting event that follows the U.S. National Sake Appraisal. This blind tasting is sponsored by the International Sake Association and conducted by a team of 10 judges from Japan and the U.S. Judges evaluate aroma, taste, balance and overall impression for each entry. Sakes with the highest scores receive gold and silver awards, and all 326 entries will be available for tasting at this year’s Joy of Sake.

This year the Joy of Sake will raise funds for brewery families devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. “I visited the Tohoku region last month and saw the destruction first hand,” said Joy of Sake coordinator Chris Pearce. “Twelve breweries in Japan were destroyed by either the earthquake or the tsunami. We used a GPS to locate the site of the Suisen brewery in Iwate Prefecture. When we got there, not even a brick was left standing. We found one of the brewing vats a mile away at the back of the valley. Nonetheless, Suisen and the other breweries are determined to rebuild.”

The Sheraton Waikiki is collaborating with The Joy of Sake in this fund-raising event. “We hope everyone will come to have a good time, and also to help out the Tohoku brewery relief effort,” said Sheraton Waikiki general manager Kelly Sanders. For reservations please call the hotel’s reservation department at 922-4422 or visit www.starwoodhotelshawaii.com/kamaaina.

With sake enthusiasts from Japan and the Mainland planning to attend, the event is expected to sell out, as it has for the last two years. Local sake fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early. Validated parking is provided with every ticket purchase.

Submitted by Aubrey Hawk

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