Sake Industry Urges Dallas Diners to Pair Rice Wine With Steak

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Sake's not just for sushi, according to the latest promotion by the sake industry.

"It's a world class drink, not just something that goes down hot at a Japanese restaurant," says Linda Kawabata of the Akita Sake Promotion and Export Council, which is hosting a tasting event in Dallas next Monday.

At a "sake soiree" at Bailey's Prime Plus, Kawabata will serve various sakes with crab cakes, bacon-wrapped shrimp, beef Wellington and other dishes she describes as "Texas food."

"We're taking sake out of Japanese cuisine," she says. "No sushi rolls, no wasabi, no soy sauce."

Kawabata says she urges chefs hosting sake dinners to prepare foods which are notoriously difficult to pair with wine made from grapes.

"I try to have them bring things like artichokes and asparagus," Kawabata says. "Sake brings out the deliciousness in all foods."

While a few high-end restaurants have added sakes to their standard wine lists, Kawabata concedes many sommeliers don't immediately think of sake when a menu's dominated by thick steaks and seared sea scallops. Even restaurants which host special sake dinners are sometimes reluctant to add sake to their wine programs, presumably because customers associate the beverage with miso soup and California rolls.

There aren't any sakes on the wine list at Bailey's Prime Plus.

"It would be wonderful if they would add it," Kawabata says. "And of course, while I'm there, I'll be speaking with them about it."

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