- scene: Lots of shiny metal, but not cold; simple mixed with some whimsy
- sip: EVERYTHING! Frozen shochu cocktails, Hoppy with Shochu, cup sake
- savor: Fried chicken; ham katsu sandwich; pork dumplings
- sit: With several friends who need to unwind; with anyone who wants to try something different than the usual bar
- spend: $
- address: 49 Clinton Street
- phone number: (212) 777-7069
- website: www.azasunyc.com
The first time I ever had sake it was in college, it was in the form of a “bomb” and it was disgusting, but I probably didn’t even realize because I plopped into a giant mug of beer and sucked it down as fast as I could. I tried sake again intermittently throughout my twenties, and I always got sick the next day; whether that was a function of the sake or the quantity is up for debate. I adopted the line that I was allergic to sake, and gave up. Well, how times have changed. My eyes have been opened to the subtle flavors of this complex drink, and I can even recall a brand or two that I favor. And now, with my visits to Asazu, my love for sake has grown even more, because I have been introduced to “cup sake”, a potent, delicious little devil.
By now bars serving “surprisingly” good food are common; bars serving premium Japanese sake out of cans, original shochu concoctions, and top notch Japanese food to wash it down with, not so common. The unique drinks at Azasu are far from a gimmick, and offer several delicious ways to get pretty sauced. The politeness and delicateness of Japanese culture often means that you have to mask your true intention of getting a heater on for a fun night, but Asazu is all about fun, but accompanied by some serious food. Azasu is a very cool place, and very reasonably priced; it would be my go- to joint if I lived on the LES, but for now its worth the trip on the FDR.
We don’t usually post recipes on the Pants, but here is our recipe for a fun night out the next time you are meeting a friend and don’t know where to go.
Step one: Select a friend or friend(s) that is open minded in trying new things
Step two: Go to Azasu; Don’t let anyone talk you into trying anything overly trendy or flashy on the LES, just head straight to Azasu.
Step three: Belly up to a table, and order a frozen sochu cocktail to shake off the day. Watch your friends’ eyes grow in wonder as they are brought back to memories of the best summer day, and possibly endure a brain freeze.
Step Four: Order some dumplings; order some fried chicken that in the best way possible reminds you of MacDonald’s; order the fried ham (ham katsu) sandwich, a salty/sweet pork experience on homemade white bread that is so much more interesting than the ubiquitous pork buns, and a fun twist on pork tonkatsu; order a tomato salad with an unexpected kick
Step five: Talk to your server and get educated about the amazing cup sakes on offer. My favorites were from Funaguchi; the Funaguchi Kikusui-Kunkou is blended with sochu, and has a rich, deep flavor and a velvety texture.
Repeat steps. three and four until desired level of fun is achieved. Thank us later…