2007_08_FoodKyotfDess.jpgLast Monday was one of those sweltering August days, which is why Gothamist was quite glad to kick off the evening at Kyotofu with the house cocktail, a refreshing combination of sesame shochu and raspberry. Refreshing as the cocktails were, we must admit that's not what drew us to Kyotofu that night. We were there to drink (and talk) sake.

The Hell's Kitchen dessert spot was host to a tasting of sakes from Yamagata Prefecture's Dewazakura Brewery, which specializes in ginjo sakes. There was a representative from the brewery on hand who gave detailed descriptions of each offering. The five sakes were accompanied by savory, and, naturally, sweet treats. Gothamist has drunk its share of sake, but this was the first time we ever tried a sparkler. Tobiroku, or "Festival of Stars," was pleasant but a tad dry. A sip of chilled edamame soup with tofu creme fraiche brought this sake into the realm of dessert wines. It bears pointing out that for some reason we and one of Kytofu's regulars both had problems telling the difference between the tofu creme fraiche and cream cheese. We suspect that the pre-sake cocktails may have been responsible for this confusion. Upon tasting the delicate white blobs, all soon realized they were a far cry from Philly.

One of the best savory dishes was a tangle of mixed Japanese mushrooms: enoki, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with miso butter. The rich, earthy tastes paired nicely with the Oka, a floral sake made from yamadanishiki rice. Our favorite sake of the night was Dewasansan, or "Green Ridge." Its mellow fruitiness was further enhanced by the housemade yuzu pineapple sorbet. While we loved the okara cookie sandwiches with Valrhona chocolate and tofu ice cream, they overwhelmed the sakes a bit. We're looking forward to Kyotofu's next tasting at the end of September.

Kyotofu, 705 Ninth Ave., 212-974-6012