Murasaki Sake Lounge is a fountain of Japanese whiskey | Bleader

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Murasaki Sake Lounge is a fountain of Japanese whiskey

Posted By on 03.21.17 at 09:02 AM

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click to enlarge Not whiskey; takowasabi, Murasaki Sake Lounge - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Not whiskey; takowasabi, Murasaki Sake Lounge

A few weeks ago I pointed out that the tightly focused booze list at  Kitsune doesn't quite stand up to the wildly imaginative food at Iliana Regan's izakaya. If you have ambitions of washing down your okonomiyaki with any Japanese whiskeys, you only have a choice of two: Nikka's popular Coffey grain and Taketsuru expressions. Oh well—it's a midwestern izakaya, after all. You're probably better off swilling Daisy Cutter anyway.

click to enlarge Hiyayakko, Murasaki Sake Lounge - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Hiyayakko, Murasaki Sake Lounge
Japanese whiskey is a booze category that hasn't quite caught on in this town the way, say, mezcal has—it's often lighter than our bold American whiskeys, and way more expensive. The Boka Group's Momotaro is the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating this, with some 26 bottles available, a few priced at more than $100 a pour. Conversely, you don't often hear folks mention Murasaki Sake Lounge, an unassuming eight-year-old Streeterville spot that for all intents and purposes is pretty much an izakaya. They have a slightly smaller selection of 21 bottles, but they make up the deficit in diversity and relative affordability—friendlier than the more diverse list at Yusho, and featuring a few brands that don't show up on Momotaro's list, like Togouchi, a whiskey distilled in Scotland and aged and blended in Japan.

click to enlarge Okonomiyaki, Murasaki Sake Lounge - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Okonomiyaki, Murasaki Sake Lounge

But as the name implies, Murasaki's mainly about the sake, with more than four dozen varieties, listed with helpful tasting notes, available hot or cold by the glass, decanter, or bottle. Japanese beer, shochu, and shochu and sake cocktails round out an impressively varied selection.

click to enlarge Ramen, Murasaki Sake Lounge - MIKE SULA
  • Mike Sula
  • Ramen, Murasaki Sake Lounge
Naturally, there's no eating without drinking, and the food menu is fairly straightforward (relative to Kitsune's), featuring snacky, absorbent bites, like cold tofu showered in bonito flakes, appropriately custardy takoyaki and okonomiyaki, pro forma tonkotsku ramen and curry rice, and more texturally challenging snacks like ochazuke—cold, raw octopus dosed with sinus-scouring wasabi.

いただきます, or rather, 乾杯!

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