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Last Friday, the Tokyo Sake Meetup had a great time at little sake nomi heaven called Nagomi in Gotanda. A sign for tagine-ryori, lamb, and jizake caught Te-chan’s attention as he was walking back from the gym one evening last summer and since then, it’s been our latest favorite local izakaya.

Recently, I took another sake fan, a guy in his 50′s who insisted that only standing bars which have been in business for ages know how to really serve sake–not these trendy izakaya that just popped-up–were the real deal. You know, he meant to say a smoky tachinomi place like Suzuden filled with salaryman on the way back from work was the only authentic place to drink sake in the city. So, he immediately disapproved of Nagomi as we sat down at the counter–just by the look of the place. Th bar counter is so clean, comfortable, and with gentle lighting and the place is filled with young professionals. By the time we left though, this oyaji-san said to me, “This is such a good place! I will come back here.” with a big ear-to-ear grin on his red face. That’s when I decided this was the place to organize a Meetup.

At Nagomi, the first thing Te-chan and I were surprised by was the way they serve sake. Shimada-san, general manager, knows that sake nomi want to try many different sake, so he offers a 90ml serving glass at a fair half the price of the common ichi-go or 180ml. Some nihonshu izakaya have this option and you may say “so what?”, but this is not all. When we sit at the counter, we take our sips from the 90ml glass, then ask Shimada-san or Ichikawa-san to heat it up to nurukan or atsukan depending according to taste. This is a kind of act I never would imagine doing at other places. I am sure most izakaya would hate to heat up such a tiny quantity, just to let these crazy sake fanatics do some lab experiments. It’s really more trouble than its worth for a bar. We don’t do this to them when they are busy, but it seems they, too, enjoy these experiments trying sake at different temperature and gathering the reactions from their patrons. So, to sum up, sake and their philosophy around serving it are just fantastic.

Food is very simple and good. Shiitake mushrooms cooked in a small tagine certainly surprised me with their full, savory flavor. Lightly grilled dried eihire with mayo is Te-chan’s favorite otsumami. Cabbage with pork in tagine is another great dish. Nagomi’s sashimi plate is fresh and reasonable.

Finally, I think it is the people that makes this tagine ryori and nihonshu place so comfortable. Shimada-san and Ichikawa-san behind the counter are perfect professionals, but their passion for nihonshu kind of rubs off. It’s just fun to sit at the counter and watch them and chat about sake when they have a moment.

They do not have an English menu, but don’t worry. If you have nihongo-phobia, Shimada-san and Ichikawa-san can guide you through their menu and drinks in English.

About Nagomi

Address: Unfortunately, this place is now closed.
Website in Japanese: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/e316000/
Directions from JR Gotanda: From JR Gotanda West Exit, walk over to Seijo Ishii entrance. Cross the street to Tokyo Hotel or am/pm, then walk away from the tracks toward river one block. Take a right at Natural Lawson, then take a left at the hair salon, Bo-peep. Immediately, you will see a big yellow sign for 24h Times parking. At the sign, take a right into a small street. Nagomi is located at the first steps you see on the block. It’s only a few minutes walk from JR Gotanda. Reservations are recommended.



  1. [...] Sake of the Week #040: Aramasa Tokubetsu Junmai Rokugo Hatsu-shibori Nama Genshu By Et-chan ⋅ January 17, 2010 ⋅  Email This Post ⋅  Print This Post ⋅ Post a comment Filed Under  Akita, en, 英語, Gotanda, meetup, nihonshu, sake, sake of the week, SOTW, yeast, 日本酒 Previously: Sake of the Week #039: Gangi Kassei Nigori Nama || Next: Nagomi [...]

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