What is Yakitori?

Yakitori: Japan’s Favorite “Fast Food”?

young girl traveler enjoying delicious grilled yakitori chicken skewers on street market in Japan

Think: grilled chicken on a skewer. Whether it’s early morning or late evening or some time in between, it’s the craving you did not know you had. Until now. Yakitori, which basically is the Japanese term for “grilled chicken,” is Japan’s version of mouth-watering barbecued chicken. Secured on a wooden skewer prior to cooking, the chicken is grilled to perfection a variety of forms.

yakitori skewered grilled chicken dish displayed on plate

But this gastronomic delight is not just about taste, but  also culture.

Yakitori and Japanese Culture

Chicken was once a luxury in Japan, going back to the Meiji Restoration period, starting around 1868. The Meiji era brought huge change, including change to the Japanese diet – the addition of meat. Chicken meat was regarded as a luxury, and greatly prized.

At the same time, small stalls selling skewered fish and vegetables outside temples were already popular. Capitalizing on the demand for chicken, the first chicken kebab shop was installed outside temples. But chicken was still expensive, and the owners of these small stalls could not afford chicken meat, so they used chicken carcass or gristle they found dumped outside higher-end restaurants. This cheap but tasty version of chicken made via the popular skewering methods became a favorite. The rest is history as they say, and yakitori was cultivated to become a diverse variety of tastes and textures, becoming one of Japan’s favorite snacks.

Yakitori in Japan

japanese chicken grill Yakitori set with leeks

Yakitori in Japan is prepared and enjoyed in various ways today. The kind of yakitori is generally named after the part of the chicken used, from thighs and breast meat to gristle and cartilage to hearts and liver. Some popular types include:

  • Negima. Pieces of chicken thigh meat skewered and adorned with pieces of leek in between each piece of chicken. Negima is one of the most popular types of yakitori in Japan today.
  • Momo. This is simply pieces of skewered chicken thigh meat.

japanese meatball grill or tsukune cooked with teriyaki sauce ready to eat

  • Tsukune. Tsukune is a type of yakitori least reminiscent of yakitori’s history, but is popular today in Japan. It is a mix of minced chicken, egg, vegetables and spices skewered on a stick as several small meatballs.

Chicken skin grilled with charcoal fire in Japanese style call torikawa or yakitori serve in izakaya food restaurant.

 

  • Torikawa. Maybe the most reminiscent of the first grilled chicken in the small stalls outside temples, torikawa are strips of fatty chicken skin grilled until crispy.
  • Nankotsu. Also reminiscent of the first chicken kebab stalls, nankotsu is skewered, crunchy cartilage with minimal chicken.

Japanese restaurants and their chefs enjoy experimenting with this traditional food with different spices and sauces. But different meats can also be used, like seafood, beef, and pork. In addition to some of these tasty yakitori snacks are other kebabs that complement these chicken kebabs, like asparagus bacon, green onion, shitake mushroom, green peppers, eggplant, and shrimp. Beer and sake are often enjoyed and paired with specific types of yakitori. Traditionally, these kebabs are gilled on a rectangular clay box, only two feet long and a few inches wide. As such, the kebabs are small and delightful, and thus: snack-ish foods. But they can also be grilled using a tabletop hibachi or a teppanyaki grill – those hot steel plates forming the center of a table at many Japanese restaurants.

Enjoy Yakitori at Osaka Japanese Bistro

chicken yakitori and other skewered grilled delicacies from Osaka teppan yaki grill displayed on plate ready to eat

At Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas we prepare authentic Japanese dishes, using recipes from Japan. Osaka Japanese Bistro provides a Teppan grill menu of all the famous Japanese dishes you could imagine, from sushi to tempura to soba to teriyaki to yakitori. Of course we have an extensive variety of yakitori dishes to tempt your palate. At our teppanyaki grill and on our kitchen menu, you will find a variety of yakitori flavors:

  • Mi, which is thigh meat… that juicy, meaty part of the chicken.
  • Shiro Me, which is white meat… that healthier, tastier part of the chicken.
  • Suna Gimo, which is gizzards… that twisted, chewy part of the chicken.
  • Reba or kimo, which is the liver… that deep, sumptuous part of the chicken.
  • Sinzo, which is the heart… that rich and hearty part of the chicken.
  • Torikawa, which is the skin… that crispy part of the chicken.
  • Tebasaki, which is the wing… a favorite part among chicken-lovers.

If you are in the mood for something tasty and fun, something that can be either a snack or turned into a meal, then try yakitori. There’s nothing quite like it, and it’s available close to you at Osaka Japanese Bistro, just off the Strip in Las Vegas and in nearby Henderson, NV. Come in and enjoy today.

Steak and Sushi: A Great Combination

Osaka Las Vegas teppan grill sizzling steak

When it comes to indulging in a great dinner, steak and seafood usually top the list. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that not all seafood is created equal. If you want a truly incredible experience, elevate your plate with an award-winning combination: steak and sushi.

Las Vegas just happens to have one of the country’s premier Japanese steak and sushi houses right here in town. Osaka Japanese Bistro features masterful sushi creations that could stand alone, but why should they have to?

Take a look at a few of our favorite reasons why steak and sushi offer the perfect food pairing.

Great Japanese Steakhouse and Award Winning Sushi

Fresh aji sashimi by Osaka Japanese Bistro

Osaka’s amazing sushi is an experience all by itself. Award-winning sushi rolls, and fresh perfect cuts of sashimi and nigiri provide an infusion of flavor sensations worthy of a night out on the town.

At Osaka in Las Vegas, we like to up the ante, so to speak, on the experience we offer our guests. We also offer a full menu from our Teppan grill, which features everything from outstanding appetizers to filet mignon that will make your heart melt. Best of all? We invite you to perch yourself alongside our Teppanyaki chefs so you can enjoy an interactive experience with your steak and sushi selections.

Pairing Steak and Sushi for a Mouthwatering Dining Experience

White Tiger sushi by Osaka Japanese Bistro

White Tiger

Steak and sushi certainly have very little in common. But, together they’re a great combination of flavors and, when done right, they’ll both make your mouth water. Why are they so great together? Great steak doesn’t require a ton of seasonings and spices, as the meat should speak for itself. On the other hand, creative sushi invites folds of flavor that play upon each other by way of sauces, toppings, and textures. After you enjoy a bite of succulent steak, your taste buds will be excited to receive the fish-inspired flavors coming their way next.

Naturally, you could go the simple route, opting for traditional rolls that have simpler ingredients and lighter flavors. Either way, if you enjoy food made fresh by craftsmen skilled in their culinary specialty, the flavors of steak sizzled to perfection by our teppanyaki chef and sushi crafted by our sushi master, you will be rewarded with an amazing dining experience.

Don’t Decide Between Steak and Sushi!

Osaka Menu Image 27

Nobody said you need to decide between a steakhouse and a sushi experience. These two elements are the perfect marriage for a great night out, and thanks to Osaka’s extensive menu, there are plenty of items for you and your dining partners to sample and share throughout the evening.

Osaka Japanese Bistro is Las Vegas’ premier steak and sushi establishment. From unbeatable date nights to family-friendly outings and group get-togethers with friends, we’ve happily been serving locals and visitors to Las Vegas since 1967. In fact, Osaka was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, and we’re proud to say we’ve accumulated quite a collection of awards since that time. If you’re craving incredible steak and unforgettable sushi, we invite you to stop by and see us! Feel free to ask our servers and chefs which combinations are their favorites!

 

Why We Don’t Serve “All You Can Eat” Sushi

Kai's special sushi plate at Osaka Japanese Bistro

Osaka Japanese Bistro has been part of the Las Vegas food scene for over 50 years. And, all that time, we haven’t offered an “all you can eat” sushi menu, even though we know that’s a popular choice among some diners. We brought the first Japanese food to Las Vegas back in 1967 and we still serve an extensive, authentic Japanese menu. We make more sushi in Vegas than just about anyone, catering sushi for many local events as well as providing quality sushi to casino-resort buffets and restaurants. And of course, we serve a wide selection of top quality fresh sushi in our own restaurants in Las Vegas and Henderson.  So what gives? Why don’t we also offer “all you can eat” sushi, too?

We Can Beat “All You Can Eat”

Here are 4 reasons why at Osaka we don’t offer “all you can eat” sushi on our menu:

1. Osaka Japanese Bistro Serves Only the Freshest Fish

Osaka is proud to serve the freshest fish in Las Vegas. We have cultivated and developed relationships that bring us the best selection of fish from Japan, including seasonal delicacies and hard-to-find varieties. We take pride in using only fresh caught fish in our sushi, delivering rich, fresh taste and quality that set Osaka apart from the rest.

On the other hand, an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant requires purchasing fish in bulk and then freezing it to have large quantities available for producing less costly and faster sushi plates. Once frozen, fish loses its delicate, fresh texture and taste.  And, research shows that besides affecting the texture, freezing can also increase the bacterial content of the fish, which, if followed by improper handling, can lead to illness. When fish is frozen, it loses water and most of the soluble minerals and vitamins. Compromising quality for quantity is not in our DNA, so we stick with the best fish available and prepare it fresh at its peak. If that means serving less sushi, then we are ok with that. Our customers agree and return again and again, excited to see what fresh, new taste might be available each time they visit.

2. We Serve the Better Cuts of Fish

fresh cut sashimi swith lemon and cucumber at Osaka

All you can eat establishments use the whole fish to be able to produce large quantities of sushi at a minimal cost. It is no secret that customers tend to eat or order more of all-you-can-eat, yet the price is usually held to a reasonable level to attract new customers. Since the cost of doing business is important for any establishment, low price and high volume make it necessary for the restaurant to find ways to save money on the ingredients it uses.

At Osaka, our expert, our trained sushi staff carefully select the best cuts of fish in order to deliver the highest quality and consistently perfect sushi to the taste of our discriminating clientele. We have many regular customers who know sushi well and can attest to the quality of the sushi platters served to them. They have their favorite dishes and know they will get the same high quality dish every time they order it. Osaka prefers to stay one cut above and not have to compromise on the quality of the fish we use.

3. Seasonal Availability of Sushi Specialties

Osaka Japanese restaurant Tokujyo nigiri plate

Osaka’s sushi bar is the home of variety and rare dishes. Its menu reflects the restaurant’s focus on offering its clients not just the freshest, but also hard to get, fish species. Osaka’s ability to find and prepare the most interesting and new varieties of sushi has made it home to many local and visiting sushi connoisseurs. Specializing in seasonal varieties and testing new flavors and recipes doesn’t work well in an all you can eat situation, so you won’t find all you can eat specials at Osaka.

Instead, at Osaka, we pride ourselves on our wide and changing menu of sushi, as well as other traditional Japanese dishes. Most all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants settle for a fixed menu that is inexpensive, fast and easy to prepare. That is not our style at all. Some fish species are so rare and hard to find that their price will be higher, and we do pass that along to our customers. But these savvy customers know an extraordinary sushi-eating experience, and they are happy to pay a little more for excellence and the chance to taste a rarely available delicacy prepared by Japan-trained sushi masters.

Certain varieties of fish are only available on a short-term seasonal basis. Just look at a few of the daily specials we prepared one day last fall:

Osaka daily sushi menu board sushi specials

4. Expertise and Care in Sushi Preparation

Besides variety, Osaka prides itself on making authentic, high quality sushi, that we think is the tastiest, freshest and the best sushi in Las Vegas.  Our sushi chefs are trained in Japan, and have years of training and practice. Along with their knowledge of preparing fresh sushi to the highest standards, they have a flair for creativity, style and presentation. Osaka takes pride in its skill at the best sushi-making methods and recipes, and passes this along as a great sushi-eating experience for all its restaurant customers and in its sushi catering business as well. But this high quality and careful preparation means no corners can be cut, making ours an unsuitable place for all you can eat sushi.

Only the Best Quality Sushi is Available at Osaka Japanese Bistro

sushi spring roll fresh sushi from Osaka

A complete focus on quality is why Osaka does not serve all-you-can-eat sushi. Altering selection, ingredients or preparation to accommodate the needs of an all-you-can-eat menu in our opinion is a compromise of quality, taste, and presentation of the food. Our sushi chefs esteem their customers too highly to serve pre-made foods or ones that compromise quality over quantity. We serve only fresh sushi at our restaurants, made to order for each individual customer, just as our founders did years ago, and we take pride in doing so.

Forget “All You Can Eat” and Eat the Best Handmade Sushi at Osaka

Osaka Japanese Bistro is an award winning, family-owned Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas that is well loved among local Las Vegans and tourists alike. Not a few local dignitaries, celebrities and entertainers have made Osaka their night-time spot for a great meal and a good time over the years. Our tasty sushi menu features regular flavors and seasonal delicacies with a selection of sushi rolls, mouth-watering nigiri and fresh sashimi. You won’t find all you can eat, but you can eat all you want at our friendly sushi bar, or enjoy sushi as a complement to your meal at a table or in a traditional tatami room.  Stop by either of our two locations, the original Osaka Japanese Bistro on Sahara Avenue off the Las Vegas Strip or visit Osaka Henderson in Green Valley and taste the difference for yourself.

Celebrate the New Year with Osaka Japanese Bistro

Las Vegas’ Best Japanese Restaurant Off Strip Shares Japanese New Year Traditions

Teappan lobster on the grill with vegetables

No matter how you celebrate the New Year, some traditions are universal. Like the holidays in America, Japanese New Year is about spending time with loved ones to show them how much they’re cherished. It’s also a time to enjoy ancient ritual customs designed to start the New Year off in the best way. And, of course, it involves lots of food and fun.

At Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we combine traditional Japanese food and drink with fun and great service every day of the year. To celebrate the New Year, like our ancestors, we enjoy the Japanese philosophy of combining merriment with meaning. If you have not lived in or traveled to Japan, here are a few Japanese New Year traditions that natives enjoy:

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New

Japanese temple bells on the wall ringing for new year celebration

Perhaps the most solemn of all the Japanese New Year’s traditions is the ringing of the bells on New Year’s Eve. These are typically done from within the Buddhist temples. The bells ring 108 times. That number represents the 108 common human sins, according to Buddhist tradition. Visitors may be invited to ring the bells after the original 108 tolls are finished. This privilege symbolically purifies visitors and listeners of those sins as they head into the new year.

Bonfires and Fireworks

Colorful firework over abstract beautiful temple in japanese style celebrate new year at night time

A festive bonfire is a gathering place for fellowship, as well as a gathering place to bring everyone together before heading out to other traditional New Year’s Day activities — going to temple or church just after midnight (hatsumode), and/or staying up to watch the sun rise. Modern Japanese enjoy fireworks much as people do around the world which may take the place of the traditional bonfire gathering.

Once you’ve finally gone to sleep, don’t forget to make note of your first dream of the New Year, known as hatsuyume. This dream is considered an omen of the things to come for the year. So if you’re the type who can “pre-program” your dreams, try to see a hawk, eggplant or Mt. Fuji in your night visions — all are auspicious!

Japanese New Year Delicacies

Osaka japanese restaurant sashimi plate

Of course, food plays a big role in the celebration of the New Year. Small delicacies collectively known as Osechi Ryori, are an important New Year’s tradition. These bite-sized treats can be sweet, sour or savory. Sushi and sashimi are often included, as are the sticky rice cakes known as mochi. In fact, a traditional New Year’s tabletop decoration, Kagami Mochi, involves balancing an orange over two mochi cakes.

kagami mochi cake is decorated in the New Year in Japan.

For those who don’t cook, osechi selections are often offered in Bento boxes, so that you can select items based on the needed variety (there are at least 50 traditional osechi dishes for the holiday!), as well as your number of guests.  

New Year Gift-Giving and Well-Wishing

Of course, children are often the focus of the winter holidays, and the Japanese are not immune to this indulgence. Adults traditionally give a specially-decorated envelope or card with money (otoshidama) containing up to 10,000 yen, or about $85. If there’s just one child in the family, the amount increases as the child gets older. If there are several children in the same family, the amount is the same. A Japanese child often receives otoshidama from parents, grandparents, family friends, and aunts and uncles.

Japanese children's New Year greeting card 2018 Year of the Dog

2018 is Year of the Dog

Another type of card is associated with New Year’s in Japan — nengajo. Billions  of these holiday postcards are sent in Japan alone,  with more being sent by Japanese expatriates around the world. These hand-addressed, traditional greetings, are all mailed in time to arrive on New Year’s Day.

Celebrate the New Year at Osaka Japanese Bistro

 

 

Osaka Japanese restaurant bento box lunch chicken beef sushi sashimi tempura rice and salad

Regular visitors and residents in Las Vegas know Osaka Japanese Bistro serves Vegas’ best sushi and largest authentic Japanese menu, from appetizers to fantastic desserts. Osaka is a hot spot for late night sushi fans or for a light and healhty meal after a show on the Strip or a night at the movies.

Spending Holidays in Vegas? Enjoy a Fabulous Meal on New Year’s or Any Day at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

You could say that Osaka Japanese Bistro has celebrated a few New Year’s Eves in Las Vegas. In 2017, we celebrated our 50 years in the Las Vegas area. Our two locations — just off the Strip on Sahara in Las Vegas, and in Green Valley, Henderson — are favorites of locals and visitors alike. In fact, this year, we were featured by Guy Fieri and the Food Network who enthusiastically recommended us to their viewers!

You’ll feel comfortable and at home at Osaka in our friendly, relaxed atmosphere, with different seating options to choose from, including private tatami rooms, regular Western seating and a fun teppanyaki grill experience. And of course, sushi connoisseurs and fans always enjoy the action at our lively sushi bar where our expert sushi chefs work with our huge selection of the best and freshest fish in town, to deliver delicate and delicious works of art.

Lift a glass of select Japanese beer and premium sake rice wine, or a choice of other beverages, when it’s time for those New Year’s toasts!

From sushi to nigiri and sashimi, Bento boxes to party boats, tempura to hot pot, there’s something for everyone on holidays or any day at Osaka. No matter what your holiday plans, keep in mind that we’re open 7 days a week with a special  late night menu most nights.

Favorite Japanese Holiday Foods

Anyone who has traveled to Japan, or eaten in an authentic Japanese restaurant knows that the Japanese enjoy a rich, diverse and carefully prepared cuisine. In a country with thousands of years of history and many different regions, each with their own style and specialty dishes, many dishes have long cultural significance. Like most people, the Japanese associate certain foods with family occasions, holidays or festivals. Here are a few special Japanese dishes that are associated with important days on the Japanese calendar.

Japanese New Year’s Favorite: Osechi Ryori

A traditional mix of Japanese New Year's foods called Osechi Ryori.

Oshogatsu (New Year) is the most significant day of the year in Japan. Celebrated on January 1 and usually extended a few days into the new year, Oshogatsu is a time to celebrate and contemplate the New Year. It’s a day when people usually return home to be with their families and gather at the shrines to greet the gods.

On New Year’s Eve, families prepare osechi ryori, a special meal that includes a variety of foods, including dishes like sweet rolled omelet, fish cake with salmon roe, candied sardines, daikon and carrot salad, smashed chestnut and sweet potato paste, and simmered chicken and vegetables. These are prepared in advance to avoid cooking during the first three days of the year according to custom, so they are often vinegared or sugared to keep during that period.

Springtime: Hinamatsuri and Chirashi Zushi

Chirashi sushi bowl

Chirashi

Hinamatsuri or Girl’s Day in Japan, is celebrated each year on March 3rd. It is one of several ancient annual celebrations that go back over a thousand years.  The day is dedicated to girl children and features the display of ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress and their royal court. Hinamatsuri celebrations feature their own traditional dishes with some variety based on the region of Japan. Sushi is usually part of the meal, as well as hishi-mochi, or diamond-shaped rice cakes colored in spring colors representing fertility and good health. as well as hamaguri-zushi which is a small rice ball wrapped in a thin omelet shell, giving it a clam-like shape. Chirashi-sushi is a collection of colorful sushi usually in colors of yellow, green, white and pink.

A Spring Ritual: Cherry Blossoms, Sakura Mochi, Onigiri and Miso

Sakuramochi, japanese confectionery wrapped in a preserved cherry on white background.

Hanami or Cherry blossom festival is one of the most popular holidays celebrated in Japan. The whole country stops work to enjoy and celebrate the blossoming of the cherry trees, called sakura. Most of the parks open their gates for families who hold their parties below the trees. The Hanami celebration includes preparing homemade foods, including onigiri (rice balls wrapped in seaweed), miso (bean paste) and sakura mochi (preserved cherry sweets). Bento meals may also accompany the family  as they picnic among the blossoming cherry trees. The meal may also be supplemented with sake or even a tea ceremony with special teaware and a blend of organically grown sakura, green and black teas.

And, then, there’s KFC for Christmas

In a country whose 99% of the population is non-Christian, the secular side of Western Christmas has been widely adopted and is celebrated with decorations and gift giving. American fried chicken icon, KFC, played a part in the popularization of Christmas. And now, each year, it seems locals can’t get enough of KFC chicken. “Kentucky for Christmas”, a 1974 marketing campaign in Japan introduced KFC, and a holiday tradition took off from there. Today on Christmas, the locals make long queues at KFC or even order in advance to escape the waiting time.

End the Year with Toshikoshi Soba

Japanese toshikoshi Soba noodle ramen in ceramic bowl, Japanese food

At the end of each year, Japanese make sure to have a meal of soba noodles in a dish called toshikoshi soba. The custom can be traced to the Edo period when it is believed to have started at one Buddhist temple that fed soba to poor people to celebrate the coming of the New Year.  Because noodles are easy to cut when chewing, a dish of soba noodles symbolizes the end to the hardships the Japanese people had to undergo as they labored all year round, and it let’s them start the New Year fresh.

To make toshikoshi soba, the soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour, are cooked with a blend of soy sauce, mirin and sugar, and then garnishing using onion. The mixture is then heated over a flame until the broth simmers. Once ready, it gets apportioned and served in bowls.

Japanese Pancakes: Enjoy Okonomiyaki Year Round

Japanese food okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a savory version of the Japanese pancake prepared using a variety of ingredients. The dish originated in Osaka but is now popular everywhere and enjoyed year round The term okonomiyaki in Japan means ‘grilled how you like it.’  While Okonomiyaki are enjoyed during matsuri, or festivals, they are popular year round. There are even restaurants that specialize in okonomiyaki where patrons can select and mix their own ingredients. Normally, okonomiyaki is prepared by blending flour, eggs, cabbage, pork belly slices or meat, and then decorated with a variety of toppings for an excellent flavor. Great chefs and homemakers all love to come up with new combinations and topping ideas for this versatile pancake which is also a great way to use up leftovers.

For Your Holiday Celebrations Enjoy Authentic Japanese Food with Osaka

WIth one of the biggest and most authentic Japanese food menus in Las Vegas, Osaka Japanese Bistro offers an extensive selection of Japanese dining for every taste and event. Whether you want to celebrate New Year’s with a late night sushi party or a birthday with a Teppanyaki feast, springtime with a fresh chirashi sushi bowl, or just enjoy the taste of homemade Japanese food like okonomiyaki or a steaming bowl of tasty chicken udon, stop by either of our locations open late in Las Vegas and Henderson and step into a festival of delicious food.

What to Look for in the Best Japanese Restaurants

Osaka meal including sushi pot stickers

A great Japanese restaurant invites its patrons to share in the full sensory experience that is Japan. From the purposeful presentation of each dish to the soft lighting and tranquil environment, each element of service is meant to heighten the culinary and cultural experience. An authentic Japanese restaurant will hold true to featuring menu selections that use seasonal market ingredients and ocean-fresh fish. Even the basics of rice and noodles are cooked and served with a masterful touch of perfection and taste.

Osaka Japanese Bistro Award-winning Local Las Vegas Icon

For over 50 years, Osaka has been delivering world-class cuisine in Nevada as one of Las Vegas’ oldest Japanese restaurants. Osaka embraces a heightened sense of respect for quality and authenticity – which has earned this locals favorite repeated recognition on the “Best of Las Vegas” restaurants, being honored 20 times. Osaka Japanese Bistro has even  garnered acclaim in Japan with the Asahi Shukan 50 best restaurants award.

Best Japanese Food Restaurants: Obsession and Art Form

Osaka sashimi platter of fresh sliced fish arranged in beautiful display

The best Japanese restaurants never happen by chance. The challenge requires careful consideration of many factors beyond an authentic menu and highly trained chefs. From the initial tea service by a warm and welcoming staff, the entire meal experience will resemble a grand ceremony of Japanese cuisine and culture. The best restaurants must successfully incorporate a combination of quality elements in order to achieve worthy applause.

The Best Japanese Food Ingredients

Fresh seafood is crucial with the numerous dishes that include eel, squid, shellfish and a wide range of fish species not commonly served in other cultures. A keen and deliberate knowledge of every aspect of ‘marine catch’ is brought to bear on fish market selections, such as knowing the collagen content of each species which determines whether the prepared fish is sliced thin (sashimi) or served thick-cut (tuna).

Seasonal produce is really an approval of taste, crispness, and bright appearance. Some may feel as if vegetables take a back seat in Japanese cooking, but actually, they are skillfully combined with dishes to accentuate taste or heighten texture. There is no lack of respect for hearty Japanese vegetable dishes which often include Napa cabbage, carrots, onions, leeks, tofu, onions, and shiitake mushrooms.

Perfect Rice a Foundation for the Best Japanese Food

Osaka steamed rice

A discussion of authentic Japanese cuisine would not be complete without mentioning the skillful perfection that goes into preparing the menu’s most basic staple – that is, the rice. Sticky, short-grained, and of as many varieties and uses; as a base for capturing the liquid nuances of flavorful dishes, in the rolling of sushi, in the making of rice cakes (mochi) and in the fermentation of rice wine (saki), a good Japanese restaurant will always serve its rice cooked to perfection.

Unique to Japanese dishes are its seasonings such as miso (soybean paste), mirin (sweet rice wine), goma (sesame oil), wasabi (Japanese horseradish), and shoyu (soy sauce) – and its spices, which include uniquely Japanese combinations of red chiles, orange peel, ginger, Japanese pepper, and sesame seeds. Soup stocks made from kombu kelp, dried shiitake mushrooms, bonito flakes, or bones and vegetables create the depth of flavor in Japanese cuisine. These are all essential pantry items in any good Japanese kitchen.

Best Restaurants Have Skilled and Masterful Chefs

Japanese teppan yaki master chef at the grill with meat and veggies

And finally, the best japanese restaurants will embrace the most skilled chefs trained in the art of sushi, teppanyaki , tempura, stir-fry, and a host of other stylized cooking innovations using cookery, tools, and knives unique to Japan. The food, techniques, and the tools used in Japanese cuisine are common to no other Asian culinary region. The overall dining experience as enjoyed in a premier Japanese restaurant is immersive, satisfying, and a memorable experience.

Restaurant Open Late

Long a hangout and night spot for Las Vegans, from Strip entertainers to casino staff stopping by for a late night meal, Osaka Japanese Restaurant has always had a special flare for providing great fare for late night diners. Sushi and other Osaka specialties are perfect for a light, late night meal. Osaka Henderson features jazz nights with live music by local entertainers, adding atmosphere and fun to dining out.  Visit one of our two locations in Las Vegas (open until 2:00 AM) and Henderson (open until 12:00 AM Mon-Thu and Sun, open until 2:00 AM Fri and Sat)

These 5 Common Sushi Myths Will Surprise You

Smiling woman eating sushi with chopsticks in Japanese restaurant

Sushi is an exotic delicacy, and more and more Americans have fallen in love with its unique flavor profile. Yet despite its popularity, most people know few facts about sushi and because of that gap, myths abound on the do’s and dont’s of sushi as well as other assumptions. Even though it’s become wildly popular, many Americans aren’t sure what to believe when it comes to sushi.

These five common sushi myths will catch you by surprise!

Five Surprising Sushi Myths

Osaka sushi roll on plate avocado

Myth: With sushi, the fish is all that matters.

Fact: Good sushi is a marriage of perfectly prepared ingredients. Of course, the quality and handling of the fish is extremely important to good sushi. But the rice, seasoning, sauces, and garnishes play a critical role, too!  The mix of flavors, expert preparation, even the presentation determine the quality of sushi. A top-notch sushi chef is an expert in selecting the perfect ingredients that bring out nuanced and delicious flavors in one another.

Myth: All sushi is raw fish.

Fact: The term “sushi” actually refers to the specially-prepared rice. Sushi rice is usually vinegared and seasoned with a little salt and sugar. In fact, many sushi rolls contain cooked fish, or no fish at all. Sushi can feature other meats or even be completely vegetarian (try a cucumber roll!). The term “sashimi” refers to raw fish that is thinly sliced.

Myth: All sushi is expensive.

Fact: Sushi prices vary widely. The price of a sushi roll depends on many different factors, including the skill it takes to put it together, the cut and species of fish, and how rare the specific ingredients might be. Sushi restaurants typically include lower-priced rolls as well as high-end delicacies on the menu. Whatever your budget, you can enjoy fresh, delicious, artfully prepared sushi rolls.

Kai's Special sushi roll on plate from Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Myth: Sushi must be paired with sake.

Fact: Sake and sushi is not a traditional pairing. Sake is made from fermented rice, which traditionally is not considered a good match with rice-heavy sushi. However, contemporary sushi restaurants offer many kinds of sake, several of which go great with sushi – just ask your waiter. If sake isn’t your “cup of tea,”  you can also pair sushi with beer or wine. Speaking of tea, you may want to simply order green tea with your sushi. Green tea helps to clean the palate between bites to sharpen your enjoyment of each bite of sushi.

Myth: Only get sushi on the day a fresh shipment comes in.

Fact: Same-day fresh is not ideal! The perfect fish for sushi is slightly aged. Sushi chefs specialize in serving fish at the perfect time. That means that the fish you are served may have been aged for a day or two to bring out its best flavor and texture. Shipments are timed so that fish are ready to serve any day of the week. So don’t worry about timing your meal – any day of the week will work perfectly!

Enjoy Top Sushi in Las Vegas

tables along the window at Osaka Bistro in Henderson, NV

Las Vegas hosts some of the best restaurants in the country – and sushi is no different! Osaka Japanese Bistro, the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, features a legendary sushi menu. Located on Sahara Ave just off the Las Vegas Strip and also in Henderson, Osaka’s  has been the top sushi restaurant choice for Las Vegans for decades.  It’s the ideal choice for an authentic Japanese dining experience, or for catering your Las Vegas event, food service or business. Come on in and learn more about sushi as you chat with our expert sushi chefs and enjoy a great sushi experience.

Traditional Favorite Japanese Foods

What are the Foods that Japanese Eat at Home?

Japanese are known to have one of the world’s longest life expectancies,and they have very few case of obesity which contributes to health problems. Japanese women live an average 87 years with men following closely at 80 years. The longevity of the Japanese people is mainly attributed to their healthy diet which is largely made up of fish, vegetables, and plants. One defining quality is that Japanese cuisine emphasizes quality and not quantity.

Traditional and popular Japanese foods for sale in food market in Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese eat food in moderation and with a lot of variety. Eating lots of different foods is a natural way to get the benefits of a balanced diet. For example, a typical Japanese meal is comprised of 1 soup, 3 side dishes, and a main dish. Japanese often practice the rule to eat until you are 80% full and then stop. Their cuisine and dining focus on the beautiful presentation of food, encouraging people to eat with their eyes. And, chopsticks, unlike the Western fork, tend to slow the eating process, as food is lifted to the mouth in smaller bites, delivering more taste and enjoyment.  All these habits help the Japanese maintain healthy eating habits.

These are the seven pillars of the typical Japanese meal:

  • Rice
  • Noodles (ramen, soba, somen, and udon)
  • Vegetable including sea vegetables and daikon radish
  • Soy (soy sauce, tofu, miso,edamame)
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel
  • Green tea
  • Fruits, like tangerine, persimmons and Fuji grapes
Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Some of the most common types of dishes served in Japanese cuisine are:

Noodles

Noodles are a standard component of Japanese meals and can either be taken cold or hot depending on the season. There are different types of noodles and their mode of preparation differ depending on the kind of accompaniment.

Rice

Osaka steamed rice

Rice is served with every Japanese meal. Daily rice served with meals is usually steamed and lightly seasoned. But, rice may be cooked in a variety of ways and served with different spices and adding delicacies to make it more nutritious. Some popular rice dishes are:

Rice bowl – mainly served at breakfast. You can mix with raw eggs and soya sauce or eat it with traditional and distinctively flavored, fermented soybean-based natto or other toppings.

Donburi –this is plain cooked rice served with some food on top. It’s found in high-end restaurants but is also common in Japanese homes and local restaurants. You can serve donburi with stewed beef (gydon), tendon, chicken and egg and katsudon.

Onigiri (rice balls) – is cooked rice wrapped in nori seaweed. You can season it lightly with salt and filling such as pickled japanese plum, dried bonito shavings or salmon. It is inexpensive and usually available in convenience food stores. You can also get it easily in general restaurants.

Curry rice – plain cooked rice with japanese curry sauce. Serve it with additional toppings to increase flavor.

Sushi – refers to any dish that contains sushi rice flavored with seasoned rice vinegar.

Fried rice – it’s also known as chahan. You can add a variety of ingredients in fried rice and the most common ones are eggs, peas, negi (green onions), pork and carrots.

Kayu – a form of porridge, deemed suitable for sick people because it is easily digestible. Make kayu by slowly cooking rice in lots of water. It’s thicker than any other rice porridge and you can garnish it with umeboshi.

Seafood dishes

grilled fish

There are a variety of seafood available in Japan from its lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. The different fish species are prepared in different ways and play a big role in Japanese cuisine. Eaten as a staple in most Japanese households, fish may be prepared boiled, deep fried, steamed or grilled.

The most preferred variety is yakizakana, or grilled fish. Fish that can be prepared this way are saba, sweet fish(ayu), sea bream, aje, salmon and mackerel pike. You may also enjoy seafood raw, as long as it’s fresh and prepared correctly. A special art and not commonly prepared at home, raw fish is frequently enjoyed as a treat in specialty sushi restaurants, in the form of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and chirashi.

Vegetables

Apart from the predominance of seafood in the Japanese diet, vegetables play a large part in their diet. Commonly, these vegetables are simmered in dashi broth (the base for miso soup) , steamed, simply boiled or sautéed. They may be served with soy sauce or mayonnaise.

Edamame at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Edamame

Beverages

Most Japanese meals are accompanied with green tea. During warmer months, meals are served with mugicha (cold barley tea). Beer and sake are alcoholic drinks that may be served with dinner.

Dessert

Sweet Japanese-style cakes with fruits and cream.

The most common dessert includes rice cakes, sweet beans, sweet rice cakes, frozen treats, and gelatins. Manju, for example, is a confection made of a filling of sweetened red bean paste and a chewy outside skin made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat.

Japanese cuisine is very varied and highly refined over centuries of Japanese culture. In a culture that values simplicity, beauty, good health and moderation, no wonder the Japanese cuisine is one of the world’s healthiest and most admired. Whether you have the opportunity to try native Japanese cuisine in Japan, or visit an authentic Japanese restaurant near you, like the original Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we hope that you will get to know and enjoy a variety of Japanese foods.

 

What are the Different Types of Sushi?

El Pollo Loco sushi roll example of uramaki sushi

Osaka’s El Pollo Loco Sushi Roll

Japanese cuisine is now mainstream and wildly popular throughout this country and much of the world. However, whether you’re a seasoned sushi connoisseur or a novice looking to order your first roll, terms on Japanese restaurant menus can be confusing. From nigiri to maki, here’s a rundown on the different varieties of sushi you may encounter in Japanese sushi restaurants.

Different Types of Sushi

Simply put, the term sushi in Japanese cuisine describes any dish prepared with vinegared rice. This distinctive and specially prepared sushi rice is combined with a variety of other ingredients. Raw seafood is the most recognized sushi ingredient. However, sushi is also prepared with cooked seafood, vegetables, egg, tropical fruit, and even meat. Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi (Japanese horseradish).

Sushi was originally prepared by street vendors as a snack food. The bite size pieces were perfect for eating on the go. As sushi rapidly grew in popularity and spread across Japan, different varieties were introduced. Now, sushi-making is an entire art in itself, with hundreds of different varieties of sushi available around the world. But these will all fall into several main categories that you can recognize anywhere you go.

Maki

Maki, or makizushi, literally translates to “rolled sushi”. It is what most people envision when the word “sushi” is mentioned. The tube-shaped rolls are created using a bamboo mat referred to as a makisu. Maki is generally wrapped in seaweed (nori), but the seaweed is occasionally replaced by cucumber, soy paper, or shiso leaves. Rice is located directly inside the wrapping, and the filling is in the center. Maki rolls are usually cut into six or eight pieces.

8 piece futomaki sushi roll on a plate

Maki can be broken down into even more specific types:

  • Futomaki – Futomaki translates to “large, thick, or fat rolls”. Like the name suggests, futomaki sushi rolls are wide (usually 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter). They are filled with multiple fillings, and seaweed is usually on the very outside.
  • Hosomaki – Conversely, hosomaki means “thin roll”. These maki rolls have one filling, surrounded by rice and seaweed. Tuna and cucumber are some popular fillings in hosomaki sushi. Due to the convenient, bite-sized pieces, hosomakizushi is a popular snack item in Japan.
  • Temaki – Temaki means “hand roll”. Temaki is a cone-shaped piece of seaweed filled with ingredients that spill out of the wide end of the roll. Temaki is eaten by hand and should be consumed relatively quickly, as the seaweed absorbs moisture from the inside ingredients and becomes soggy.
  • Uramaki – Uramaki translates to “inside-out roll”. This Westernized sushi variety differs from traditional maki in that the seaweed is inside the roll and rice is on the outside. The common California Roll is an example of uramaki sushi. In Japan, where sushi is traditionally eaten by hand, this maki variety is rather uncommon.

Nigiri

Osaka tokujyo nigiri

Osaka Tokujyo Nigiri

Nigiri, or nigirizushi, means “hand-pressed roll”. It is the most traditional sushi type. Nigiri consists of an elongated mound of sushi rice that has been hand pressed by the chef. The mound of rice is then draped with a single topping. Some common toppings are tuna (maguro), salmon (sake), octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), and egg (tamago). A small amount of wasabi is oftentimes placed under the topping. In most restaurants, including Osaka Japanese Bistro, one order of nigiri is two pieces.

Gunkanmaki is a type of nigirizushi that has a piece of seaweed surrounding the perimeter. This strip of seaweed helps contain a loose or soft topping, such as sea urchin (uni) or salmon roe (ikura).

Chirashi

Chirashi bowl fresh seafood in ricebowl

Osaka Chirashi Bowl

Chirashi, or chirashizushi, means “scattered sushi”. It is a bowl filled with sushi rice and a variety of different toppings. Toppings generally include raw fish and vegetables. Chirashi sushi is popular in Japan, because it is filling and comparatively easy to prepare.

Sashimi

Osaka sashimi platter of fresh sliced fish arranged in beautiful display

Osaka Sashimi Plate

While not technically sushi, sashimi is on most Japanese menus near the sushi. Sashimi is simply fresh, raw fish or meat cut into thin slices. Sashimi is not served directly with rice, but it is often served over a garnishment, such as shredded white radish (daikon) and/or shredded carrot. Like sushi, sashimi is eaten with soy sauce and wasabi. While it is considered appropriate to eat sushi by hand, it is proper to eat sashimi with chopsticks. There is a lot to know about sushi, as there is about Japanese cuisine, but with some basic knowledge you’ll be able to find your way through just about any sushi menu.

Find the Best Sushi at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Osaka Japanese Bistro was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas. Based on authentic Japanese recipes and never compromising quality, we have become the largest sushi-maker in Las Vegas, serving everyone from our guests in our restaurants in Las Vegas and Henderson as well as many of the food buffets up and down the Las Vegas Strip. With our award winning chefs and large selection of sushi, including maki, chirashi, nigiri and sashimi, you could say we know sushi.  Stop by Osaka today and enjoy the best fresh sushi in town.

Hibachi or Teppan Grill: What’s the Difference?

Osaka teppan yaki grill lobster onion and veggies with open flame

Here at Osaka, after 50 years of hard work to be not only the first but the best Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, our commitment to excellence means providing an excellent experience for our guests, whether they’re seated at our lively sushi bar, relaxing in a quiet tatami room, or gathered around one of our exciting teppanyaki grills.

Teppan or Hibachi Grill?

Guests are sometimes curious about the difference between teppanyaki and hibachi. The confusion is understandable as both refer to grilling over open flame. “Hibachi-style” is sometimes used in the United States to refer to teppanyaki cooking. At some point in the past, English speakers in North America started to use the word “hibachi” to refer to a small and portable barbecue grill usually made of cast iron that featured an open-grate design. Hibachis typically use charcoal to heat food and are called “shichirin” in Japanese. Some contemporary models of hibachis in the United States are electric and are used to cook Japanese dishes indoors.

Old Japanese charcoal hibachi (charcoal brazier / fire bowl), isolated on white.

Traditionally, the Japanese hibachi is a heating device with an origin that may date all the way back to the Heian period (794–1185 AD). “Hibachi” translates to “fire bowl,” referring to the round or cylindrical shape of this open-top container designed to burn charcoal or wood for heat. The container is made from ceramic or wood and is lined with metal. Hibachis were sometimes also used as portable heaters or built into furniture for ready cooking. Many models are highly decorative.

Teppanyaki-style cooking, on the other hand, uses a solid, flat iron griddle to cook food, most often in a restaurant setting. These grills are typically heated with propane. Diners sit around these large, gas-heated hot plates and enjoy the culinary display of talent and skill as specially trained teppan chefs grill seafood, beef, pork, and chicken dishes to perfection. The flat surface is also well suited for cooking small and finely chopped accompaniments such as rice, vegetables, and eggs.

Teriyaki Cooking

What about teriyaki cooking, another popular Japanese food style? Teriyaki is a method of cooking with a sauce of the same name. Teriyaki translates as “glossy grilled.” During preparation, the meat is coated with this thin, light sauce that’s actually a sweet glaze made from soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin — a sweet rice wine. As the meat cooks, the chef continues to brush on more teriyaki sauce to keep the meat evenly coated and give it the very appealing glossy look. The result is a dish with a salty, slightly sweetened, rich taste. Teriyaki cooking is traditionally used in Japan to flavor fatty fish like tuna and eel, but its popularity in the US has meant it is also now also widely enjoyed with chicken, salmon and beef. Originally used only for cooking, a thicker version of teriyaki sauce is now popular on the Western dinner table as a dipping sauce.

Enjoy Osaka Japanese Bistro Teppanyaki Grill and Tempting Teriyaki Dishes

Osaka japanese restaurant teppan yaki chef over flame cooking lobster, steak and other foods

The Osaka teppan grill is a popular spot on any evening at Osaka Japanese Bistro. Our talented teppanyaki chefs grill up the most tempting and tasty freshly grilled dishes from steak and lobster to chicken, salmon and shrimp, along with a mouthwatering selection of appetizers, grilled vegetables, rice and other side dishes. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an exciting authentic teppanyaki grill experience.

Looking for great teriyaki dishes? At Osaka you can also enjoy enjoy chicken, beef, and pork dishes grilled in our own carefully crafted teriyaki sauce. One of our most popular selections is the yakitori: grilled chicken on skewers brushed with aromatic and perfectly seasoned teriyaki sauce. Our popular house combination dinners allow you to combine beef, chicken, or pork teriyaki with our delicious shrimp and vegetable tempura, or opt for the beef and chicken teriyaki combo dinner for twice the enjoyment.

Stop by Osaka Japanese Bistro on W Sahara in Las Vegas, or our restaurant in Henderson for a truly authentic Japanese meal, or give us a call to reserve a teppanyaki grill experience today.

Las Vegas’ Best Sushi Catering Service

You’ve enjoyed the tastes and textures of Osaka Japanese Bistro’s sushi at our legendary Las Vegas restaurant or maybe at our Henderson location. But did you know we also offer that authentic sushi taste, great fresh ingredients, innovative sauces, mouth-watering selection, and award-winning sushi chef artistry in our catering business as well?

Osaka japanese restaurant sashimi plate

If you have an upcoming event like a wedding or business banquet, or if you run a restaurant, buffet or other institutional food service, consider adding popular and tasty Japanese sushi and sashimi to your menu. Osaka sushi is authentic and exciting, colorful and visually beautiful, adding just a touch of the exotic to any menu. With many sushi varieties to choose from, we can help you add variety and fun to virtually any menu, with something for every palate.

And, when you choose Osaka catering in Las Vegas for your sushi needs,  you’re in good company.

Premier Catered Sushi Provider for the Las Vegas Strip

If you’ve enjoyed tasty sushi while visiting a Las Vegas casino buffet, chances are it was sushi prepared by Osaka Catering. That’s because Osaka provides 3 out of 4 pieces of all the sushi served on the Las Vegas Strip, including at the buffet services of many famous casinos. Meeting the needs of these big, highly selective clients is no easy task. In keeping with their high standards of quality and customer service, the top casinos demand fresh, authentic, exciting sushi rolls carefully and expertly prepared by highly-trained sushi chefs – and that’s precisely what they receive from Osaka. On any given day, Osaka delivers upwards of 20,000 pieces of freshly-made, delicious sushi to our growing number of catering clients on the Strip and around the Las Vegas Valley.

Serving the Best Catered Sushi in the Osaka Bistro Tradition

Kai's special sushi prepared by Osaka Catering Las Vegas

Osaka Catering was built on the quality standards set by the Nakanishi family when they opened the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas back in 1967. And, while Osaka Japanese Bistro is still going strong after all these years, and serving one of the most extensive and authentic Japanese menus in town, with such enormous demand for our famous sushi, our catering business has grown even faster.

To maintain our trademark high quality and freshness standards, our professional sushi team uses only the freshest, tastiest fish and other ingredients, sourced daily and prepared with care by highly trained sushi chefs. Our kitchen is a new, state-of-the-art production facility that is equipped to help us produce the very best sushi to our own high standards, and do it all on time. We then deliver our sushi with care, freshly made and beautifully presented, to provide a delicious and memorable catered experience for every event and every guest we serve.

Order Catered Sushi for your Event

Fresh sushi with fish roe close up by Osaka Japanese Restaurant sushi catering division

You don’t have to be a famous casino to provide your guests with the same high-quality sushi and sashimi. From banquets and parties to casinos, restaurants and institutions, Osaka can deliver a selection of fresh Japanese sushi in whatever quantities you need. We’ll work with you or your food service team to determine the selection mix and quantity desired, and go over details from delivery to service to clean up. We’ll make sure every detail is handled so that your guests enjoy a wonderfully fresh and exciting sushi experience, and you can sit back and relax.

Make your special event even more memorable with fresh, authentic Japanese sushi made with the best ingredients and based on traditional Japanese preparation methods. Contact Osaka Catering today for more information.

All About Sake

Planning to dine on Japanese food in Las Vegas?  Consider making your Japanese meal even more of an authentic and enjoyable experience by adding a glass or two of your preferred sake. Sake is a popular Japanese alcoholic drink made of fermented rice, koji yeast, and water. It occupies a special place in Japanese dining, with its distinguished history and it even offers some health benefits.

Sake: An Ancient and Enjoyable Japanese Tradition

Japanese sake barrels stacked in a Shinto shrine.

In Japan, sake is known as nihonshu (sake is a broader term that means liquor).  Local Japanese may also commonly call it seishu (“clear liquor”) when ordering. Sake is actually a beer and not a wine, since it is a beverage fermented from a grain (rice) and not from fruit. However, it is not carbonated and is closer in taste to wine than beer.

Typically, sake carries an alcohol content of 15% to 20%. Sake has a more delicate flavor when compared to wine which is more acidic. The minerals in Japanese water lend their own distinctive flavor.  These elements help make sake a bit gentler on the stomach than wine or other alcohols, although it still carries a full alcohol hit that you will discover if drinking it on an empty stomach. A health benefit of drinking sake in moderation is its selenium. As soybean dishes also offer a healthy amount of selenium, your thyroid will benefit from a visit to a Japanese table.

Originating in China, sake was first popularized in Japan and has been brewed there for at least 2,000 years.  Brewing methods were perfected in monasteries in the 12th to 15th centuries. After the invention of wooden brewing vats, mass production was now possible outside monasteries, resulting in widespread availability of the brew. There are over a thousand active sake brewers today, providing a wide variety of fine sakes to choose from. Regional varieties, based on unique combinations of rice varieties and types of yeast, have developed their own flavors, characteristics and fan bases.

Sake varieties for every meal or occasion

Among the many choices of sake, some favorite types stand out and are well enjoyed in Japanese restaurants, sushi bars and homes:

Tasty sake in black ceramics or tokkuri on black tableDaiginjo is a fragrant and highly sought-after sake. Served chilled, it has been painstakingly made from rice that’s highly polished. The percentage of the rice grain remaining is stated on the bottle.

Junmai daijinjo is its “pure rice” edition. Junmai is brewed strictly without additives like sugar or distilled alcohol that occur in Honjozo sake. Junmai sake—robust, traditional, often with memorably floral tones—is usually enjoyed at room temperature.

Nama, a sweet sake, is unpasteurized. It must be kept refrigerated. Nigorizake is creamy, sweet, and ricey—you’ll even find tiny rice bits in it.

The nihonshu-do (Sake Meter Value) is the specific gravity of a sake. It tells how much sugar created through fermentation turned from sweetness into alcohol. A high number such as 10 has traditionally indicated dryness in the dry-to-sweet scale.

Sake might remind those who enjoy it of apples or pears, or citrus zest, perhaps melon or cucumber. Some might be more reminiscent of nuts or caramel, and some has a captivating, vanilla-like scent. Other varieties have a mouth-feel like sherry, and, infused with yuzu or berries, can be served in the style of a dessert wine.

Enjoying the Sake Experience

Brought to the table in flasks called tokkuri, sake is paired with, of course, Japanese food or salty snacks. And most sakes go very nicely with Asian food in general.

Interestingly, as with grape wine, the drinking vessel will impact the taste. Connoisseurs may serve fine sake in crystal, to celebrate the aroma, much as wine-tasters do. Drinking from the elegant, saucer-like sakazuki, or perhaps a little, round ochoko, or even a wooden masu can add flair to festive occasions.

The most popular sake in Japan, soshu, is served cold. In contrast, junshu, a richer brew, can be enjoyed cold or warm. The pricey, aromatic jukushu is served at room temperature.

No matter how it’s served, when it comes, pour it out as an offering to others, and let others pour for you. After your dinner partner pours for you, take a sip before placing your sake back on the table.

As we’ve already noted, many fine sakes are best when chilled. Others might be perfectly delightful when gently warmed in a water bath. Different temperatures draw out different characteristics. Our experienced restaurant staff will be able to describe the nuances in temperatures.

Kamisama sushi roll and a glass of sake

Enjoy your sake with food like your favorite sushi rolls, or with a complete meal or a teppanyaki grill experience. Drink it with a delicious Osaka dessert, or enjoy it as a before or after dinner drink. However and wherever you enjoy sake, you will find it a satisfying and enriching experience. And when dining with us, please don’t hesitate to ask your server for recommendations for a fine sake to accompany your meal at Osaka Japanese Bistro.