Yoshimoto
Nishi-Shinjuku: Izakaya
Yoshimoto (Nishi-Shinjuku: Izakaya)
Yoshimoto
Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.

The "kikizake set," or sake tasting flight, is a great invention - instead of just one kind of sake you get to try three different varieties at the same time, comparing flavors and aromas as you sip your way through smaller-sized glasses. Some izakaya offer basic starter-level flights aimed at sake neophytes (e.g. sweet vs. dry vs. cloudy), but Yoshimoto takes it to another level entirely, with more than a dozen tasting flights designed to appeal to sake aficionados. It's an excellent opportunity to explore a lot of different brews in one evening without falling over, especially if you come with a group and share.

The kikizake sets here are organized according to themes - three sake from the same prefecture, or from the same brewery, or made with the same rice. There are usually a few special seasonal selections as well, and most flights are priced from Y880-1100. Although it may be tempting to try them all, the regular sake selection - some seventy labels - is also worth checking out, particularly the limited-edition seasonal specials.

The food menu is fairly straightforward izakaya fare, and takes a back seat to the drinks. Our summer vegetable tempura was the highlight of a recent visit, and the sashimi platter and satsuma-age fritters were also decent. Adventurous diners might want to try some of Yoshimoto's "chinmi," unusual delicacies such as fermented fish guts and bee larvae which you can order in sets of three tiny but pungent dishes.

The restaurant is divided into a convivial counter area and a plainly decorated tatami room with horikotatsu, which unfortunately can get smoky at times. Budget around Y5000-7000 for ample food and drink.

Nishi-Shinjuku
Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 1-13-3, Nishi-Shin Bldg 3F.
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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended