Ototo, a New Echo Park Sake Bar, Isn’t What You ‘d Anticipate
” I understand the words ‘sake bar’ can include some luggage,” states Courtney Kaplan, the drink wiz behind the hit Japanese dining establishment Tsubaki in Echo Park. “However this one is going to be enjoyable, I assure.” Together with her partner in company and life, chef Charles Namba, Kaplan is on an objective to overthrow stuffy stereotypes about Japan’s standard rice red wine at the couple’s most recent endeavor, Ototo, which opened in late Might.
Found next door to Tsubaki, Ototo (Japanese for “little sibling”) works as a more casual counterpoint to its brother or sister, with a focus on sake, red wine, beer, and requisite drinking treats. “The objective is to hang out and treat it like a routine bar,” Kaplan states. “We wish to do what red wine bars provided for equalizing red wine, making it more available and enjoyable.”
The barrier, as she sees it, is that even individuals who like sake typically do not understand much about it. Ototo intends to lower the intimidation aspect. That suggests easily putting tastes from the list of 50- plus bottles and composing menu descriptions that stabilize details with home entertainment. “We’re not too slowed down in lingo about rice polishes or sake grades,” Kaplan states. “I desire individuals to feel a sense of experience when they take a sip.”
That stated, there’s plenty for sake geeks to go into. “Sake typically gets pigeonholed– many people experience a really particular design– and I wish to demonstrate how broad it can be,” she states. As smart drinkers continue to look for the story behind what they imbibe, she sees a chance to press sake into the spotlight. She’s especially delighted about showcasing ranges like Fukucho, a sake crafted in Hiroshima by a female master maker who solitarily restored an extinct treasure rice type throughout a years. There’s likewise “young, hipster-style” sakes like the Takachiyo 59 series, which includes 3 similar sakes, each made with a various kind of rice. The drink menu is completed by shochu (a distilled grain alcohol), natural white wines from the U.S. (in contrast to Tsubaki’s all-French list next door), and craft beer, consisting of a possible partnership with Eagle Rock Brewery.
In regards to food, sake is a natural pairing for tasty, umami-heavy foods and, according to Kaplan, uses even more versatility than red wine. Namba is establishing a snack-oriented menu with meals like oden, a reassuring simmered stew of sorts; a katsu– design fried-chicken sandwich; and the gloriously decadent griddled cabbage pancake okonomiyaki Oh, and cheese, which Kaplan notes is a natural foil for sake, since both consist of high quantities of amino acids and glutamates. (Other foods with a comparable makeup consist of oysters and tomatoes, which suggests “pizza is a great sake pairing, too.”)
The concept at Ototo is to use something for everybody and perhaps widen horizons at the same time. “If you’re awaiting a table at Tsubaki, you can follow door and have a beverage and a fast treat; you can drop in for a glass of sake prior to a Dodgers video game; or you can make a night of it here,” Kaplan states. “It’s a versatile area for the community.”
Ototo, 1360 Allison Ave., Echo Park