Notes From The Bar

My dear friend Warren, who I met on the internet about 5 years ago(oh yeah), has bartended at some of the nicest restaurants in NYC. Here's his wisdom on sake, japanese Beer, and how to make the best bloody mary. Enjoy!

CV: What's it like being a bartender at a fancy downtown restaurant?

W: Being a bartender 'at a fancy downtown restaurant' is very different from just being a bartender. Firstly, food is involved, and the more elaborate the food, the more opportunity to learn...I'd never worked in a japanese restaurant before. The complexities of each fish we serve is so much more subtle in terms of pairings, I had to rethink what I can suggest to learned customers. Having Lived in Tokyo, casual diners tend to drink sake that maintains a certain degree of rice taste that accompanies the cuisine appropriately. Americans tend to want the purer, or Daiginjo sakes. None is better or worse, I just feel the latter is a trend.

CV: How does tipping work at your current restaurant?

W: As tips are concerned, I never thought I'd work in a packed place that demanded so much explanation. I stick to 3 or 4 sakes that I know work with the cuisine and make my explanations concise. I have a similar outlook to efficiency, which may even out the excitement I have for teaching. It is a business. Having a thorough sake list is a plus, as we don't offer many cocktails that do the cuisine justice. No one knows about sake...even I'm challenged when dining at restaurants that offer multiple options. There are no regions to pigeon hole, such as say the Rhone with Viognier for White and Syrah for Red. It's just not that easy. Therefore, I make my tips on speed and being savy. Salesmanship with specials and pairings always commands top tips.

CV: Give us your top 3 favorite alcoholic drinks and top 3 fav non-alcoholic drinks

W: I drink beer when relaxing....Wine with a meal, and whiskey forever.
Water and juice at all other times. I hate how sugary soda lines my tongue with sugar.

CV: Do you recommend cocktails while dining?

W: As was the case when you lived here, interesting cocktails are at a premium for diners. As far as I'm concerned the only place for a cocktail is at the beginning of a meal to get your tastebuds stimulated and not to be paired whilst dining.

CV: Do you get hit on a lot by drunk barflys?

W: Shouldn't answer...

CV: Most people have had Sake but most have not tried unfiltered Sake - can you tell us what that is?

W: Most sake is filtered through something similar to a coffee filter, and yields a clear product. The ones that aren't are called nigori. They tend to take on a sweeter aroma and are pleasantly gummy in texture, depending on the maker.

CV: Do you like Bloody Marys?

W:I Love Bloody Marys

Always Canned Tomato Juice
Add Celery Salt
Worcesterchire Sauce
Lime Juice
and a dash of Balsamic

Always to taste....always

Then 2 oz of Stolichnaya Vodka

CV: Whats your favorite Japanese beer?

W: Not available in the US, but Kirin Green Label....And it says on the label: "For Value". It tastes steely, not unlike Spaten

CV: Do you like Sparks?

W: Fuck No. [ed. note - sorry Smitty!]


Sarah said...

everyone loves sparks. it's human nature. don't try to fight it. (hi warren!)

dapeen said...

great interview. and i don't like sparks but i do like Warren.