Top Pair: Sake Pairs with a World of Flavors
- 22 Hawthorne St
- San Francisco, CA 94105
- (415) 685-4860
- Sommelier Bobby Conroy
- A Washington, D.C., native, Bobby Conroy has enjoyed a career in fine dining for more than 10 years. He began his sommelier career in 2009, passing his Introductory Exam with The Court of Master Sommeliers and then opening Jean Georges J & G Steakhouse at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C. Leaving Jean Georges in 2010, Conroy became restaurant manager and assistant sommelier at Plume Restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel, helping the restaurant earn a Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rating in its second year of operation. He left Plume in June 2011 to join Master Sommelier Yoon Ha at Corey Lee’s Benu in San Francisco.
Building on the contrasts in the tarte, Conroy pairs the dish with Kitaya’s Kansansui, or Cold Mountain Water, sake. The sake is a premium free-run rice wine (made from rice polished—or refined—to 50 percent of its original size) from Fukuoka in southwest Japan. Luxurious, delicate, and refreshing, the sake is still rich in umami and fruit flavors, harmonizing the sweet undertones with the raw seafood. Notes of Asian pear, persimmon, and cantaloupe match the apple, onion, and uni, and savory notes in the dish shine from the delicate, starch-like quality of this style of sake. Conroy further explains, “The last component the sake must take on is the richness the dish provides from the fromage blanc, parmesan, gruyère and bacon. The Kansansui has the ability to address [these qualities] because of its mouthfeel and elegant starchy character.”