Behind each steamy sip from your choko at Kenichi Restaurant in Victory Park, there’s a sake legend or tradition — and this Lakewood resident is eager to share the lore. Sake-ssuer and Kenichi co-owner Scott Brasington, along with partner Bil Rieger, traveled to the rice-wine breweries of Japan to soak in sake history, and followed acclaimed sake expert and author, John Gautner, through Thai and Vietnamese rice fields. After witnessing the rich brewing traditions passed down within families for generations, they came home to create the largest Sake menu in Texas. “I’m able to educate a table about the blood and sweat behind the sakes we’re selling,” Brasington says. “I work the floor, so now I can take it a step further by giving them a great story.” For example, a premium brew nicknamed “Divine Droplets” is cooked in small batches within the icy walls of an igloo. Another, brought home from the owners’ Asian adventures, is a Kenichi-only, top-grade sake dubbed “Tanuki’s Magic.” The myth is that Tanuki enters a restaurant, orders food, listens to music, and after he departs, the trickster’s money magically turns into leaves. “If you see Tanuki’s statue at a restaurant, it is supposed to be a fun place,” Brasington says. “He reflects our atmosphere.”

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