Right in the the center of Little Tokyo’s First Street is the new Sake Dojo. Owned by the Far Bar team, the new eatery opened inside the former Hotel Mikado lobby last week, and on a street filled with mostly traditional and longstanding Japanese restaurants. Sake Dojo’s approach is modern Japanese fare with craft beer and sake on tap, and it opens its doors today.
Greg Beck is Sake Dojo’s sommelier. Fluent in Japanese and the ways of sake, Beck’s job is to ensure drinkers get a favorite sip. Each glass ranges from $5 to $95, which Dojo’s Enomatic pours so that each bottle stays fresh. The owners repurposed a high tech wine dispenser with the manufacturer, allowing a longer shelf life and consistent temperature.
Bar manager Phil Collins was instructed to only use spirits from the Pacific Rim. That includes alcohol from countries Japan, Taiwan, China, and Washington State, Oregon, California Mexico’s Pacific coast, and a rum from Hawaii.
Don Tahara, Mike Gin, and Señor Fish owner Enrique Ramirez partnered up on Sake Dojo, and they describe chef Ruzi’s (no last name) menu as “Japanese forward.” Ruzi maintains Japanese tradition but sometimes adds a contemporary twist. Sake Dojo has built a raw oyster bar, plus a hot bar with spicy garlic butter edamame. Items like lamb chops and eggplant come from the robata grill, along with medium-sized plates that feature miso baby back ribs and black cod. The menu’s pretty wide, with rice and noodle dishes, and even traditional and untraditional sushi.
Sake Dojo’s food will eventually serve the Mikado Hotel’s guests. In fact, Sake Dojo was formerly the ground floor of the hotel, which included two restaurants and one bar before Wick Architecture and Design and LAND Design Studio got their hands on the interior. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11:45 a.m. 2 a.m. Sundays from 11:45 a.m. to midnight.