151 Rivington St., nr. Suffolk St.; 212-777-7253
Behind a sliding door and hanging straw curtain, this slip of hallway in a Lower East Side tenement has been transformed into the city’s most serious sake spot. Two in-house sommeliers help imbibers select from the 50-plus-bottle sake menu, ranging from aged, honey-sweet koshu to undiluted, intensely strong genshu (from $12 for six-ounce pours), pairing them with traditional Japanese pub snacks. For the best view, request the cushioned bar seats in front of the glass-enclosed Japanese barbecue station, where you can sip sake while watching the chefs grill everything from ginkgo nuts to whole squid.