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Okane Opens in KTown

It might be "Gaam Jr.," but it's also 30% off to start.

By Hadley Tomicki

Sake To Me

Free sake flights at Aja!

By Helen Rosner

Suzie Wong Gives Us a Case of Déjà Vu

When we first told you about Suzie Wong, the lounge “nightlife lord” JE Englebert and his partners are opening this Thursday in their old Pre:Post space at 547 West 27th Street, we noted that Lotus once had a café named after the fictitious hooker with a heart of gold. That said, you’d think Lord Englebert would make sure his logo looks nothing like Lotus’s! Or are we the only ones who see the resemblance? And are we the only ones who are hesitant to visit a sake lounge that spells it “saki”? Sure, it’s technically an acceptable alternative, but we’re not surprised it’s the preferred spelling of someone whose other club is Myst [sic]. Earlier: Club to Open in (Rather Than Flee) West Chelsea

Sake Sommelier Chizuko Niikawa of Sakagura Serves $100 Bottles to Jean-Georges

For three years Chizuko Niikawa has been a sake sommelier at hideaway Sakagura, the restaurant in the bowels of a midtown office building. In that time she’s served everyone from clueless first-daters to one of Japan’s most notorious soccer players (who apparently gets his feathers ruffled if he’s served vegetables) to a certain famous chef that she then knew only as Mr. Kakunko, a reference to his proclivity for dining at the bar with his favorite $100 bottle of sake for company. We asked her to clue us in about the art of sake.

Sakaya and Its Daily Tastings Just Two Weeks Away

East Village sake stronghold Sakaya has been on the way for a long time, a process chronicled on various blogs, including Sakaya’s own. Now that we’re less than a couple of weeks (or fewer) away from the place opening up, we spoke to former Food & Wine publisher Rick Smith, who owns Sakaya with his wife, Hiroko Furukawa. “We’re going to be the first store totally dedicated to sake in New York, and we’re going to have sakes that no one has seen before here — artisanal sakes, small-batch stuff, things that have never been imported here before.” Sakaya’s line will range from an ultrapremium Midori Kawa Dai-Ginja for $163 to the “lovely” $18 Yuri Massamune, the George Duboeuf of sake. The only problem, and it’s one Rick can’t fix, is that we can never remember which sake we like since the labels are all written in Japanese. But we’ll get the chance to find out: Sakaya will host daily sake tastings, so you can learn (and get a little looped) whenever you stop in. Sakaya Blog [Official site]

American Grill Rejected by the E.V.; Second Ave. Deli to Open in January

Astoria: The “Sophia Loren” pie at Michael Angelo’s II on 23rd Avenue near 29th Street is said to blow away the neighborhood’s pizza competitors, and with the not-so-innovative toppings of mozzarella, tomato, basil, and sauce. [Joey in Astoria] Carroll Gardens: Lucali overwhelmingly won an albeit mini-poll for the hood’s best pizza parlor. [Bergen Carroll] Chinatown: The owners of new restaurant U-Choose Express on Mott Street have decided to decorate their space with an old sign from fifties diner Lonnie’s Coffee Shoppe that was uncovered during renovation. [NYT via Lost City] East Village: After only five months American Grill is giving up the ghost. Did its blintzes really fail to lure 4 a.m. drunks away from Odessa, was it flat-screen overdose, or just the constant reminder of Kiev’s death by gentrification that did the mod diner in? [Eater] Hell’s Kitchen: Artisanal Premium Cheese Center is hosting a sake and cheese tasting on December 5 to “showcase the lovely synergies that superior Sakes and exquisite (Artisanal Premium) Cheeses share.” [Artisanal Cheese] Midtown East: They may be hoisting their sign today, but the 2nd Avenue Deli probably won’t open until January. [Eater] Midtown West: Bruni’s first impression of Brasserie 44 (after, he notes, Rob and Robin’s) : It looks Scandinavian. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Sangria 46 at 338 West 46th Street will feature a different sangria each day for the twelve days before Christmas starting on December 13 with three-berry rosé. [Grub Street]