Good drinking at the new Yoshi's


Had a chance to visit the new Yoshi's on Fillmore with our food editor, Sara Deseran, the other night. The array of interesting dishes presented to us kept us busy, but not as busy as all the delicious things to drink. We were helped along the way by the impressively knowledgeable and enthusiastic saké expert Ben Baker. He kept our glasses full of everything from a flowery, nuanced daiginjo to a solid, fruity gingo to an earthy shochu. Baker taught us the progression of these that a Japanese person would follow at a similar meal, which, contrary to the order we drink wine in the West, flows from the most fine and flavorful to the most solid and plain. The point, which makes sense, he told us, is that with great food, you want to drink something that won't detract from it. Great sakes are good for the first couple of courses, but shochu would be drunk through much of the meal.

This was all fascinating, but what was most startling was seeing Yebisu beer on the menu. I had thought it wasn't imported to the States, and Ben told me that it had only become available in the last couple of weeks. Eagerly, I ordered a couple of bottles and drank most of them (Sara didn't seem to want to finish hers). One of Japan's oldest beers, Yebisu is a malty lager, and I became fond of it during a short visit to Japan. The bottle was good but, unsurprisingly, not as good as what I drank on tap in Japan, especially the beer in Tokyo's Narita airport, which was dispensed by this machine.

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