And as its name makes clear, Williamsburg’s Shalom Japan is equally unconcerned with authenticity. Its playful hybrid of Japanese and Jewish cooking exists entirely as the singular vision of chef-owners Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi. The drinks program faithfully mimics the model behind plates like okonomiyaki (a fried cabbage pancake) with corned lamb’s tongue or a lox bowl with fried capers over sushi rice with daikon, avocado and salmon roe. Organizationally, the diverse sake selection represents the “Japan” side of equation, while wine embodies the “Shalom.” According to partner and manager Micaela Grossman, who curates the list, its underlying purpose is to mirror the historical reach and fl ow of the Jewish diaspora across the globe. “Jews have always been a people in transit, crossing borders and having borders changed around them,” she says. “I wanted to reflect this in the beverage program.” This translates into an unusually deep catalog of wine from Austria and Eastern Europe, with bottles like the unctuous and smoky 2009 Fekete Béla Juhfark from Somló, Hungary, which somehow manages to pair with virtually everything on the menu. Suddenly, that pitcher of Sapporo isn’t looking so good.
310 S 4th St. (at Rodney), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Asian Fusion, Japanese
This story appears in the print issue of April 2014.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.