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I don't see a separate thread for SakaMai, the izakaya on Ludlow. That's where I ended up last night for my daughter's pre-birthday dinner and it all worked out well.

I was hoping for a relatively quiet place, and this qualified. Music was at the right volume and although it was busy people were having conversations at normal volume. Nice exposed brick look to the interior. 

We each ordered separately but the appetizers came out one by one so we ended up sharing everything. Scrambled egg topped with osetra and uni is pictured served in an uni shell on the website, but came in a small round dish. It still reminded me of that old Gramercy Tavern classic, where the scrambled egg would be replaced by creamy mashed potato. Wagyu handroll was a do-it-yourself operation, trusting you to roll the nori. Good beef.

My daughter pertinently described the uni mazemen as a kind of Japanese Alfredo. The remarkable thing is the creaminess achieved without the use of dairy. Maybe it's the wagyu reduction.

And...fanfare!...Good. Duck. Breast. Aged, cooked medium rare, crispy skin and tender. It can be done. The hen of the wood was crispy but sadly got cold really fast.

I had a couple of dips into a kind of mocha sundae with cornflakes at the bottom. I rarely drink Japanese whisky because I don't like the typically thin mouthfeel, but the after dinner drinks menu pushes you in that direction if you're not drinking sake. I ended up with Akashi Ume, which is based on plum alcohol and curiously sweet. My daughter was excited by the C-Sour #2 (aged plum liqueur, cognac, honeydew melon, vanilla, lemon).

About $100 a head. A lot of other tables were ordering the signature $85 wagyu sandwich. Apart from the cost, I don't eat that much bread and my daughter doesn't eat that much beef, but I admit now to being intrigued by it.

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I think when I got the uni/egg/caviar thing, it was served in an eggshell. But that was a long time ago, and I may be conflating it with a very similar dish I had at that place that’s now 15 East - I’m spacing on the name.

ETA Toqueville

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I wonder if they sous vide the duck breast before it gets its final treatment. I would guess that it can be sous vide-ed to just below medium rare, held for a while to tenderize, and then finished to crisp and bring up to temp.

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