Jo Takasaki opened his Tokyo temple of experimental okan (“warm sake”) to showcase the rice wine’s many expressions when paired with plates of chewy-crisp gingko mochi, topped with ikura and sheathed in a strip of nori, or bowls of broth piled with velvety strips of bear. The small, neat interior of Takasaki no Okan was designed thoughtfully for its owner’s performance, with inset warming baths for the various vessels he uses to heat natural sake, mostly from his native Fukushima, and a curved, stone bar that seats eight. He’ll start off your tasting with a serving of okan infused with lemon peels and chased with sparkling water, for a DIY sake lemon sour. Later in the night, after tender tsukune and smoky grilled fish, Jo-san will top an orange sake with a luxurious float of steamed milk and call it a “sakeccino.”
Ella Quittner is a screenwriter and Family Style‘s writer-at-large. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Man Repeller, Bon Appétit, and across many group chats.