New Kid on the Block: Sankaku
The plan at Sankaku, the new sake bar — though I might call it a lounge — opened last month by the owners of Sushi Azabu, is to introduce a different way of approaching sake. Instead of going for Japanese food and ordering sake, the idea here is you come for the sake and order the food as a bonus. The bar snacks are a long way from pretzels and peanuts, with an inventive list of small bites intended to enhance the couple dozen brews on the list.
“When the pairing works, it’s magical,” said (the charming) Lisa Tobari, whom the owners (a company called Plan Do See, and they own the building as well) tapped to create the menu, the sake list and the decor. “It’s kind of my favorite thing. When you have those two things together, it really changes the experience of each one.”
Tobari came from Sakagura, then En Japanese Brasserie in Soho where they have 80 sakes by the glass, and after that Bohemian on Great Jones. She stocked the sake list with a range of distributors and breweries (for 1.5 ounces, $7 to $12) — and even one from across the river: Brooklyn Kura. “They hold their own. It’s good stuff.” The food menu ranges from dried and fried eel bones (which scared me, but Tobari calls them nice crunchy little snacks) to slow-simmered pork belly to wagyu croquettes to sliced prosciutto, the latter of which is largely there to change people’s perceptions of what goes best with sake. (There’s also beer, wine and liquor, and Tobari, trained as a bartender, can mix you your cocktail if sake is not your bag.)
The decor is subtle and comfortable: a mid-century vibe with grey woolen couches, exposed brick, schoolhouse pendants. The aim was to make it cosy and chill, and with just a neon triangle in the window as a sign (sankaku is triangle in Japanese) the hope is that it becomes a neighborhood hideaway.
428 Greenwich at
Wednesday to Saturday, 5 to midnight
(adding Tuesdays starting in August)
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