When one usually thinks of sushi, a crisp Japanese beer or bottle of unfiltered sake are likely to come to mind as accompaniments well before a chardonnay or Riesling. However, the sushi bar and catering professionals from Natsunoya Tea House in Honolulu, HI, want you to know there are a wide range of alcoholic drinks that go wonderfully well with sushi. Here are their top five recommendations.
5 Drinks You Should Order at the Sushi Bar
1. Pinot Noir
One doesn’t usually think of red wine being a match for sushi. However, some of the lighter red wines, such as an American pinot noir, will go splendidly with cuts of sushi containing red tuna, salmon or snapper. These specific types of fish, when eaten raw, tend to resemble the flavor of red meat more than others, making a light red the ideal wine choice.
2. Cold, Unfiltered Sake
The fragrant flavor of cold, unfiltered sake can create a wonderful contrast when it comes to certain types of dishes at the sushi bar, especially ones that contain unagi (eel). Because unagi can be so savory, a sweet, light sake does wonders to bring out the complex flavors of the eel while balancing its more oily and acidic attributes.
Dry chardonnay is quite a common choice when fish is on the table, so it’s no surprise a dry American or Australian chardonnay is a great item to introduce at the sushi bar. When eating lighter-colored sushi, such as yellowtail or albacore tunas, the chardonnay’s dry, fruity taste brings out the creamy texture of the fish, while at the same time allowing some of its more subtle and complex flavors to surface.
4. Japanese Beer
One common theme when it comes to sushi is nori, or the smoky, salty seaweed many of the dishes are rolled with. Nori can be overpowering to the palate sometimes, which is why the professionals from Natsunoya Tea House suggest choosing a crisp Japanese beer to go with dishes that use a lot of seaweed. Dry and malty Asian beers do a great job of balancing out the intense flavor of nori, especially if your chef was also a bit heavy-handed on the toasted sesame seeds or wasabi.
Some might cringe at the thought of sucking down a scotch with their salmon roe, but you’d be surprised at how well the rich, smoky flavor of a good scotch can complement a salty sushi dish. If you can find an aged variety at your local sushi bar, even better.
To try some of these alcohol and food pairings, head to the sushi bar at Natsunoya Tea House. Call them today at (808) 595-4488 to make a reservation. You can also visit them online for more information about their catering services and banquet halls.