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Posted May 31, 2012 by samuek in Uncategorized

Sake Pairing Dinner at Ki Toronto – Kampai Toronto

Amouse bouche of Dragon fruit and frozen tomato

Kampai Toronto is today and I am so excited.  119 sake counted so far for the event and tons of great food providers.  To celebrate, Ki Modern Japanese invited me to a sake pairing dinner with the Oregon based Sake One.  They are known for their Oregon made sake Momokawa and as one of the only providers of organic sake.  Their VP of Sales came down to share his insights on sake, the industry and the company over some great sake and food.  The settings, the sake and our menu for the night made especially for this event working with Michael Tremblay, resident Sake Sommelier, Sake One, the Ontario Distributor Vivian and the Ki chefs. 

I find Sake One an interesting story as it is an Oregon company.  Many of you may know that Oregon is the mecca of craft beer and also just happens to have a burgeoning sake market.  Fitting for the company it keeps right?  Sake One is also a heavy social media user that targets a younger demographic for some of its brands partnering with concerts and music events.   

Grille ika (squid) salad with a spicy salsa verde

I spoke with Jim, VP of Sales who advised that the Toronto market has so much potential when it comes to sake,as the people love craft, artisan products.  That is exactly what sake is.  

Thinly sliced fluke with strands of ginger and oil

 As each dish came out Jim explained what the sake was, what made it unique and why it went well with each dish.  To summarize, sake does not compete on the palate but rather compliments.

This was really nice.  Floral olive oil, rosemary and sweet blanched shrimp.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food, being that none of it was from their menu and was created by the sushi chef and chef de cuisine.  I sat beside the wife of the chef at Ki, who trained at Chris Mcdonald’s Avalon and Cava, who boasted how happy her husband was to be able to experiment with dishes.  You could definitely taste the Spanish influence.

The nigiri/maki plate was wonderful boasting a tamago wrapped lobster roll, crab battle ships in the middle and some salmon and snapper

As a palate cleanser, a shot glass was filled with crushed ice, grapefruit juice and sake was poured over it all.  The glass was refreshing, clean and did its job.

Ah, my good old friend the pork belly.  Ki uses miso to sweeten the already succulent and tender pork belly, clearly cooked perfectly and caramelized in all the right places.  Wait what was I talking about?  

A wonderful women beside me did not eat meat and was offered this tofu substitute.  She actually despised tofu which was some funny fate but I reaped the rewards of her dislikes and enjoyed the salty tofu and more pork belly as I got her share.  Lucky me!

Seared diver scallop sitting on a bed of braised oxtail.  This was pretty cool and all the components went extremely well together including the sake pairing.

A pineapple, coconut and strawberry gelatin terrine.  I am very specific about my desserts and this one did not work for me.  However, I did finish it all as the dish worked wonderfully to clean up the oil from the scallop and the oxtail.




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