Tengumai Sake Dinner at Zest

Kazunari Shata – CEO of Tengumai

On April 24, I attended a wonderful dinner at Zest Japanese Cuisine that paired Sake from Tengumai with specially created dishes from Executive Chef Tatsuya Katagiri.

Tengumai is made by hand, using the sake master’s sense. Shata Shuzo uses a method which is very rare today in Japan, called “Yamahai-jikomi”(one of the methods to culture yeast). With this unique method that accompanies the lactic fermentation, a very rich taste is created. This dinner was to honor the launch of Tengumai in to Canada, Kazunari Shata is the 8th generation owner of the sake brewery.

A selection of Canapes were served to start off the evening including Hirame Kobujime (kelp cured); and Spring Bamboo Shoots w/ baby sansho leaves miso along with Washington fresh Shigoku Oysters. Paired with Tengumai Black sake during the reception.

Sommelier/Executive chef Tatsuya Katagiri (L) & Kazunari Shata (R)

1st Course:

Kombu cured BC Spot Prawn, Local sole “Nanban…


  • Kombu cured BC Spot Prawn, dashi vinaigrette jelly, local sturgeon caviar
  • Local sole “Nanban zuke” flash fried & marinated in dashi sweet vinegar
  • Chilled “chowder-mushi” local free range egg custard, BC Dungeness crab, prosciuto bits, yuzu
  • BC Geoduck & kaiware radish sprout salad, tobiku, ponzu
  • BC local fiddlehead, roasted pine nuts, gorgonzola cheese “shirase” tossed with tofu puree

paired with Tengumai Junmai Dalginjo 50

2nd Course:

sake Kasu cured Haida Gwaii Halibut tempura


48hrs sake kasu cured Haida Gwaii Halibut tempura, local uni, local fiddlehead

Paired with Tengumai Jumai Umajun

3rd Course:

Japanese Aji Spanish Mackerel no Sushi & House steamed sea fois gras Sushi


  • Japanese Aji – Spanish mackerel bo sushi, ginger+green onion, tamari soy sauce
  • House steamed sea fois gras -monk fish liver – gunkan sushi, ponzu jelly

Paired with Tengumai Red


Fascinating set-up – as our table learns how to warm sake to 45 C at the table

4th Course:

Canadian Heritage Angus beef cheek


Miso braised Canadian heritage angus beef cheek, artisan sake kasu risotto with radicchio, local shitake mushroom, organic local sunflower shoots, organic local sunflower shoots and local young carrots with black summer truffle.

Paired with Tengumai Junmai Yamahai Jikomi 

5th Course:

Black sesame Kuzu mochi & Yatsuhashi roll


  • Black sesame Kuzu mochi with BC Birch syrup, soy bean powder
  • Yatsuhashi roll with sake kasu an, raspberry
Paired with Tengumai Umeshu – plum sake.


This was a spectacular dinner, some of the dishes that stood out for me in both perfection on the palate and the plate included the BC Local Fiddlehead, roasted pine nuts, Gorgonzola cheese tossed with Tofu purée dish; as well as the 48 hrs sake Kasu cured Haida Gwaii Halibut tempura, local Uni, local Fiddleheads along with the delish Miso braised Canadian Heritage Angus beef cheek, Sake Kasu Risotto w/ black truffle.

Zest Japanese Restaurant is located at 2775 West 16th Avenue in Vancouver. You can find them on twitter @Zest_Japanese

By: Richard Wolak

Leave a Reply