Wine in the restaurant: Japanese specialties

Japanese specialties and sushi and wine pairings at the restaurant

The journey of the world's restaurants continues after our escapades in Lebanon , and today we are tackling a gastronomic mountain that has conquered the whole world: Japanese specialties. It's a big fish that we've hooked and we're going to serve it to you on a silver dish and with all the sauces.

And if you are unsure about the accompaniment, let your friend guide you on the vast paths of wine lists in restaurants which can be misleading. Take away or eat in, it won't be said that you don't know how to choose the wine to accompany a typically Japanese menu!


The dish: gyozas do you want some, here they are

Let's start in style with the traditional but no less delicious gyoza. Small ravioli with a big heart, stuffed with generosity and grilled with love, it is ideal for a warm and delicious warm-up. The stuffing made from tender, fatty pork and cabbage provides a soft contrast with the crispness of the dough. Seasoned with ginger and Chinese spring onion, it can be accompanied or not with a vinegary soy sauce.

pork gyozas food and wine pairing

Wine: red alert and pinot noir

Let's put it straight away: red won't be there even if your pie-eating instincts scream at you that meat-stuffed pasta calls for the full-bodied flavor of a good tannic red. The first reason alone is crippling: ginger seriously harms the health of red, causing acute aromatic dissociative disorders in it. Other reasons are added: garlic and cabbage among others. Have you ever seen sauerkraut paired with Saint-Emilion?

White people who are fine

We therefore suggest that you instead turn to an aromatic white which will balance the tasty power of the gyozas and provide a beautiful minerality like a Côtes-du-Rhône white . Let yourself be tempted by a Domaine de la Janasse or a Cairanne white from Marcel Richaud , more generous and fuller too. To venture further east, much further east, you can also treat yourself to an Austrian Grüner Veltliner from Weingut Emmerich Knoll that the Archduke would not have denied: floral and spicy, it will offer you a bitterness in finish rivaling perfectly with ginger.


Main course

The dish: the art and manner of sushi

We then offer you an assortment of sushi to perpetuate the purest Japanese tradition. Initially a means of preserving fish using fermented rice, sushi has become an art with international resonance which has seen its share of adaptations and culinary fusions.

We'll stick to the basics if you don't mind: no California Rolls or tasteless cheese between tuna and avocado here. The science of traditional sushi as practiced by taisho masters involves an alchemical precision and subtlety that we must respect. We'll keep it simple though because while taisho is capable of cooking absolutely anything that lives in the ocean, from eel to whale to squid, we like to cultivate the aromatic complexity of simplicity here.

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Nigiris, makis and off we go

So let's go with an assortment of salmon and tuna nigiris (a raw slice, sashimi, simply placed on the rice in an oblong format) and tataki-style makis of these same fish, that is to say raw to the core and cooked in border (a true epiphany in the mouth).

Let's not forget the essentials: the salty soy sauce (do not dip the vinegared rice in it but only the side of the fish!), the wasabi to spice up each bite, and the pickled ginger (which also helps to cancel out the effects of the wasabi if you added too much).

Wine: white, always white

As for drinks, let's stay on conquered ground: between fish and ginger, you will have understood, red is prohibited (and the more tannic it is, the more it is for questions of acidity, as with cheese , you remember ?). Traditionally, sushi can be accompanied by green tea which offers a wide aromatic and subtle range.

For our part, let's opt for a dry and fresh white wine , aromatic enough to compete with ginger and wasabi. Since we only offer fatty fish, let's turn to a spicy and mineral wine: an Alsatian riesling like a Schlossberg grand cru , perfect for enhancing salmon. Let's go down to Burgundy to find a little Chablis whose richness will highlight the full breadth of a bite of tataki, such as a Chablis premier cru Louis Fusain . A Pouilly-Fuissé like an Olivier Merlin , still in Burgundy territory, will bring great liveliness to your shogun banquet.

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Dorayaki: bean pancake

It's time to conclude a meal full of adventures with some soft little dorayakis just the way we like them. Dorayaki is a popular dessert and that's understandable: it's first and foremost a pancake, and the pancake, in all its iterations, is undeniably a universal language of sweet comfort. Its specificity is to contain within it an anko paste, made from sweet red beans. Surprising for Westerners at first glance, it is quite simply a unanimous delight for lovers of sweetness.

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The end of the spiritual journey is a beginning

Accompanying dorayaki with wine is certainly a practice that is very little used around the world. I therefore suggest that we instead turn to Japanese alcohols to conclude this journey of flavors on a “rising sun” note.

Let's turn to shochu , a brandy made from rice, barley and buckwheat but not only: from sweet potato too! And if it is subtle, its aromatic presence will undoubtedly resonate with the flavors and textures of the sweet red bean (let's remember the importance of touch in wine and more broadly in tasting ). A plum alcohol like umeshu , made from shochu in which Japanese plums are macerated, will also round off our menu in style.

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Dozo Omeshiagari Kudasai!