Thursday night I met a friend out for cocktails at Sakana Sushi Lounge in Ferndale. As far as trendy sushi lounges go, this one doesn't try too hard and their sushi actually is quite good. They do occasionally bring in DJs, such as weekly Tuesday nights "Full Flavor" with DJs Reggie Harrell and Kraig Love spinning house/lounge/jazz, "Elev8ed Thursdays" featuring DJ SirReal (good eye candy) spinning house/lounge/mash-ups, and 3rd Saturdays "Raw"--raw house, raw hip hop, raw fish; but it is never the boozin' 'n floozin' -fest that is so often Crave.
They also have a rather extensive sake-infused drink menu. Sake: the much under-appreciated Japanese rice wine that is distilled more similarly to beer than wine and has a sweetness which disguises a deceptively high alcohol content--15-20%, depending--that will knock you on your ass. Sakana features over 50 specialty cocktails created by Sakana's resident mixmaster Brent Foster, many of which boast sake as a primary ingredient.
Last night we chilled to the popular house tracks and ambient lounge music spun by SirReal (really good eye candy) while trying our damnedest to make some serious headway through the martini/saketini menus.
I couldn't resist the Wasabi Bloody Mary--which is normally $8.00 but you can get on special Sunday afternoons for only $6.00--but it wasn't nearly as spicy as I had hoped. When I mix health food with my vodka I'm only happy if it gives me stomach cramps and I have to leave early to find myself a nice private bathroom (that's the point of health food, right?). This was not that Bloody Mary for me. Improbably, Dick O'Dow's in Birmingham still makes the best I've had in the area.
I also sampled the Asian Pearl Saketini--made with Momokawa Pearl Sake, Malibu Rum, and a splash of pineapple juice. Summery, no doubt, and sweet, but nothing compared to the Mango Saketini. Momokawa Ruby Sake, mango vodka, mango liquer, and a splash of orange juice...this thing was like liquid sex candy. Smooth, refreshing, and FULL of liquor, I could almost picture myself drinking on an exotic tropical beach along the Pacific Rim instead of in some dimly-lit sushi lounge in butt-ass-cold Michigan in the middle of freaking winter. Seriously, like liquid candy. "I said 'Sexual Chocolate'!"
If you need some nosh to soak up all that booze, they've got more than 30 specialty maki rolls (including vegetarian and riceless), as well as a full selection of nigiri/sashimi, some noodle dishes, and bar-food-friendly appetizers such as gyoza (beef, not pork--odd, but tasty) and soft shell crab tempura. Their presentation is unfailingly artful, service always attentive, and general atmosphere pared-down chic (really nothing fancy except the lack of fanciness; best described as minimalist décor on a budget). Plus their drinks are the BOMB-DIGGITY.
Word of warning: happy-go-lucky saketini sampling adds up quickly at $8.00 per drink, so choose your selections wisely. Stay away from anything with Triple Sec 'cuz...ew.