Chef Joe Cajipe takes a traditional approach to sushi at Sake Haus on Roosevelt Row

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Over the past two years, many new sushi concepts have opened up around Phoenix and the Valley. Seafood and sushi lovers now have plenty of options to enjoy their favorite rolls, whether raw or cooked. In early April, one of these new establishments opened on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. Sake Haus, which is attached to Pedal Haus, is located on Roosevelt just west of 3rd Street. This fun new sake and sushi-focused establishment focuses on flavorful nigiri and sashimi and offers an extensive menu and depth of Japanese sake and whiskeys.

Sake Haus on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix.(Jeff Popovitch)

There are several types of sushi. There are the common maki rolls, which consist of fish surrounded by rice and wrapped in seaweed; nigiri, hand-pressed rice with a layer of fish or garnish on it; or sashimi, which are usually thin slices of fish served without rice or seaweed. In addition to sushi, Sake Haus serves a variety of sakes, Japanese whiskeys, and cocktails with Japanese ingredients. The shelves along the bar are filled and stacked with sake of four different variations, with several options for each.

Sake Haus serves futsushu, which is the most popular type of sake in Japan and is considered an everyday table wine. There is also Junmai daiginjo, a premium sake usually reserved for special occasions. Junmai gingo, often lighter and fruitier. And the nigori sake, which usually looks cloudy and still contains rice solids that haven’t been fermented. Knowledgeable, sake-savvy staff can help guide and educate customers on the many variations and flavors to suit any occasion.

Sake, Japanese whiskeys and more at Sake Haus in Phoenix.
Sake, Japanese whiskeys and more at Sake Haus in Phoenix.(Jeff Popovitch)

Sake Haus is ready to educate customers about more than sake. Chef ‘Sushi Joe’ Cajipe has crafted a menu that highlights and emphasizes nigiri and sashimi, which are not as often selected as maki among sushi lovers. Cajipe says her goal is to raise awareness of the traditional side of sushi, such as nigiri and sashimi, which are sometimes overlooked in Western countries.

“When people think of sushi, they most often think of sake bombs and sushi rolls. Well, I kind of want to bring something different to the table. I want to highlight the traditional side while implementing modern techniques and flavors,” Cajipe explained. And while Cajipe’s approach is different at Sake Haus, he says there’s nothing wrong with keeping things simple with offerings like California rolls, eel sauce and spicy mayonnaise. But at Sake Haus, Cajipe says the focus will always be on the quality of the fish.

“We want to highlight the fish. We strive for very high quality products every day. All you need is just a little to add flavor and enhance the fish. We always feel like less is more, and in terms of sushi, that’s really true,” Cajipe said.

Sashimi at Sake Haus in Phoenix.
Sashimi at Sake Haus in Phoenix.(Jeff Popovitch)

Speaking of sake bombs, Cajipe hopes to educate customers about the true nature of sake and how it should be enjoyed with a traditional meal.

“Usually the general population sees sake as a shot or something to go with a Japanese beer to take sake bombs with, but what a wine it really is. It’s a rice wine, so traditionally you drink it cold from a wine glass and you just sip it and pair it with your sushi, and most of it goes together depending on the flavor profiles that you are. looking,” Cajipe explained.

Cajipe, who is Filipino, has been working in Asian cuisine for 10 years in different restaurants in the valley. Cajipe learned from various chefs and most recently worked at SumoMaya in Scottsdale. But that all comes from humble beginnings in 2012 as a waiter at a restaurant in Chandler. Cajipe says the head chef noticed his passion for learning more about sushi and took him under his wing. Cajipe’s journey from waiter to chef began, driven by his love for food and cooking – and the fact that sushi is also his favorite dish.

“What really comes back is just the passion and dedication to perfecting the craft. A lot of people call it art, and I understand why they would do that. There’s a lot of complexity and attention to details, plus it’s the most fun kitchen I feel like I’m having,” Cajipe said.

Sushi and sake at Sake Haus in Phoenix.
Sushi and sake at Sake Haus in Phoenix.(Jeff Popovitch)

Whether your trip to Sake Haus is for sake or sushi (or both), you’ll have a fun experience. The natural flavors of the fresh fish and the way it’s curated by Cajipe and his staff will ensure a wonderful meal for sushi lovers, and the extensive list of Japanese sakes and whiskeys is more than enough to keep adults looking for a treat. drinks. The interior design and artwork of Sake Haus creates a very cool vibe, with red lighting to set the tone for Toyko Street. Cajipe takes pride in his work and says seeing guests enjoying his sushi makes him feel accomplished and fulfilled as a chef. So the next time you’re craving sushi, consider trying something more traditional and stop by Sake Haus!

This is the twelfth segment in a breakout series on the leaders of the Phoenix Metro. Arizona’s Family Foodie sits down with chefs from across the valley to tell their stories of triumphs, perseverance and dedication to their craft. There is a tremendous amount of work, research and experimentation that results in what is placed in front of you on a plate or in a drink. These are the stories of the creative minds behind those delicious meals or cocktails, and how their passions for food and drink bring us joy and connection.

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