Sake fans you’ll love Casa Sensei’s tastings

Located on the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Casa Sensei on Las Olas Boulevard has an enormous menu, probably because it’s a Pan-Asian Latin Fusion concept. That’s a lot to cover and the abundance of dishes does just that.

Once you’re seated, out comes a complimentary bowl of popcorn topped with a rich, buttery, spicy chili sauce. It won’t knock your socks off, the spice is mild enough that you’ll ask for a second bowl, believe me.

At first glance of the menu, you can’t help but notice “Venezuelan” empanadas as an appetizer selection.

Venezuelan empanadas

I was instantly curious about those and dining with my Venezuelan friend, we ordered these. They weren’t quite what we expected given they were small and incredibly crispy. Filled with beef and served with chimichurri for dipping, they were overly crunchy and quelled our curiosity.

We then moved on to the huge task of deciding what to order. After carefully reviewing the very large menu (I said that already right?), we decided on sushi and the seafood entree. Plus, the first sake – Miyasaka “Yawaraka Junmai” from Nagano Japan had already been served so we needed to eat something substantial (especially since we’d be having four more sakes). The sake had a good balance of acidity and sweetness with a hint of plum.

We wanted a nice variety of sushi and for that the Triple Crown is the best choice. It includes rolls of tuna, salmon, yellow tail then tuna and salmon again, all topped with Casa michi spicy mayo. Just look at the photo, this massive roll was as tasty as it looks and has something for any sushi lover.

It’s always fun to go off menu so we opted to also try that evening’s seafood special. Like the sushi it was a good variety of choices, this time with hearty seafood served with fried rice. The succulent shrimp, juicy and smoky and the tender lobster, ready to be dipped into drawn butter are served on the savory fried rice. Excellent combination.

And then there were those other four sake servings (you thought I’d forgotten?). They all varied and the sake expert that evening Terry Kashiwagi, was great at educating us on the differences of each.

The second sake Sohomare “Karakuchi” from Tochigi was a traditional sake and like the first one, made from the middle part of the rice (yes, sake’s made from rice). It’s a flavorful dry sake. Sake #3 the Dewazakura “Dewasansan” from Yamagata has a high acidity, is a bit sour and goes well with sushi and sashimi. Floral and fruity with a green apple tartness.

Closing out the sake tasting were Tamagawa “Kinsho” from Kyoto, a bit more potent than the previous three, round and full-flavored with grassy nuances. It was followed by #5, Kamoizumi “Nigori Ginjo” from Hiroshima which was my personal favorite, mildly sweet, rich and creamy.

We left with a newfound knowledge of sake and an appreciation for their varied flavors. The sake tastings are a regular happening at Casa Sensei, make sure to check their website or better yet, social media feed for the next one.

Casa Sensei, 1200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale 954.994.1668

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