Drink of the Week: Yogurt Nigoritini at The Balcony Grill & Bar

Drink of the Week: Yogurt Nigoritini at The Balcony Grill & Bar
Edwin Goei

At the beginning, when Diamond Jamboree first opened, it was Tokyo Table that got all the attention. You had to make reservations days in advance. After that it was 85°C Bakery Café, which, to this date, has handily won the popularity contest with lines so persistent they inspire ridicule. Then there's The Balcony Grill & Bar. Since the first day it debuted, it has remained low key and kept a steady beat, slowly and quietly garnering the kind of cult following a place like this deserves. The location has something to do with it. For now, The Balcony Grill & Bar is the only restaurant in this food-centric mall to be located upstairs, inaccessible to those who are lazy.

The menu is kind of all over the place, but in a good way. They're now known for two things: an array of shabu shabu served table side with a Sterno-fueled burner and their Happy Hour. As more and more people realize the place is undiscovered gold, The Balcony is getting more selective with the Happy Hour, which used to be offered just about all hours of the day. The "Drunk Munchies" served during the discount period are mostly fried, and the favored drinks lean on the sake and soju when it's not pitchers of beer.

There is, however, one libation that bests them all. Called the yogurt nigoritini, it starts with nigori, an unfiltered sake that's cloudy, murky and mildly sweet. To this some yogurt drink is mixed. Think Calpico, not Yoplait. The effect is a somewhat frothy, soothing drink rounded off with a soft, dairy finish. It is the perfect thing to sip with anything spicy or dessert, which the drink could also very well be.

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The Balcony Grill and Bar

2710 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606

949-387-0888

www.thebalconygrill.com


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