Japan’s largest restaurant review website, “Tabeloglaunched a U.S. version this past April, starting things off in New York City. The site aims to bring high quality reviews of restaurants in the Big Apple to food lovers, enlisting the help of top food bloggers, critics, and industry experts across the five boroughs.

Tabelog Logo

What’s awesome about Tabelog is they’re looking to unite the food blogger community through various tools and awards – the first of these being the Official Food Blogger Restaurant Awards. This fall’s edition just ended and the results are out:

SakeMai Owner and Chef

To announce the winners, Tabelog hosted an awesome meet and greet for the judge’s panel at the new Japanese restaurant and sake lounge, SakaMai. The night was complete with some excellent food from Chef Takanori Akiyama and the 2012 world champion mixologist Shingo Gokan dazzling us with his famous drink creations.

Tsukune Slider
Tsukune Slider

The chef at SakaMai creates some delicious dishes with a Japanese foundation while at the same time infusing Western flavor/flair because of the restaurant’s location in New York City. The Tsukune Sliders were chicken meatball, foie gras, caramelized onion, butterhead lettuce and harissa aioli. 

Secreto Iberico Pork
Secreto Iberico Pork

Secreto Iberico Pork was served on a bed of kogashi shoyu and topped with farro salad.

Filet Mignon Tartare
Filet Mignon Tartare

Filet mignon tartare was topped with a crushed poached egg, sea urchin and a ball of wasabi mascarpone, all alongside a crunchy piece of brioche toast.

Croquette
Croquette

One of my favorite dishes of the night – a fried ball of lobster, lardo iberico and sansho pepper.

The owners of SakaMai – young professionals (designer and finance background) – decided to develop and open this restaurant on a whim. Judging from the food they showed off at this event, they’re well on their way to delivering a Lower East Side sake lounge with food fit for an uptown crowd – a combination for success.

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