The Sake Samurai

If you have been to the Hamptons then you have no doubt ate at Sen.  Sen is one of the best Japanese restaurants in the Hamptons, Sag Harbor to be specific. On a recent Sunday evening we attended a Sake Tasting event there hosted by Ryunosuke (Jesse) Matsuoka, pictured below just happens to be a Sake Sommelier; had no idea they even existed. Jesse impressed us with his knowledge and passion for sake, as well as Japanese culture that we felt this is one Hampton's influencer worth knowing. 

Jesse Matsuoka Sen restaurant Sag Harbor Sake Sommelier Japanese


Tora Matsuoka - pictured above with Jesse - opened Sen with his partner Jeff Resnick in 1994.

Starting at age 12 during summer vacations Jessie would travel from his home town in Hawaii to the Hamptons where he would help his father in the kitchen washing dishes to eventually sous chef and now managing the restaurant and its other business interests.

Jesse's family background is very colorful and has all makings of a Hollywood movie, which includes his father, Tora a former top-division sumo wrestler in Tokyo, where he met Jesse's mother Lynn who was working as a fashion illustrator for top Japanese department stores and also Vogue. Later Tora became a celebrated sushi chef and Lynn,  famous in Japan for documenting thru her art - pictured below - the living traditions of Sumo and Kabuki, and in Hawaii for her work in Hula (Jesse happens to be a champion Hula). But that's another story!

Lynn Matsuoka Sen Artist Sumo Reportage Hamptons

Jesse's love of sake is based in his passion of sharing Japanese culture and wants to bring that experience to more people... 


Sakes pairing goes great with all types of food particularly...

  • Fish
  • Cheese

Both food groups share some of same food acids that are also found in Sake, so a match made in heaven so to speak.

Favorite Sakes...pictured below.

  • Kikusui
  • Hakkaisan

Jesse Matsuoka Sen Sake Sommelier Kikusui Hakkaisan

Favorite place in the Hamptons...

"Sag Harbor Main Beach... to play volleyball." 

    Why he loves the Hamptons...

    "Hamptons is an inspiring place; the elite networking community of the world - where so many movers and shakers convene other place like it to promote Sake and tap into my passions."

      Dreams and aspirations...

      "To become a Sake Samurai, the highest level attained to promote sake and Japan's rich history " - while he may not yet be bestow the title he is indeed a samurai in the waiting.
      "Open a sake brewery in the East Coast." 


      There is no doubt that with Jesse's experience and passion he will make his mark in sake and beyond! 

        So if you are in the Hamptons be sure to check out Sen and of course Sunday evening Sake Tasting, which is reasonably priced and paired with delicious Japanese appetizers by Executive Chef Luke Ferrara.

        Sen - 23 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY 11963  

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