At Sushi Note in Sherman Oaks, California, chef chef Kiminobu Saito offers wine-friendly bites like sushi biscotti, crispy thin cakes of fried sushi rice with toppings like spicy tuna or miso-basted eggplant, that play well with wines selected by co-owner Dave Gibbs. For pairing with sushi, Gibbs says he thinks about both the texture of the fish—whether it’s firm, chewy, or delicate—and any sauces or garnishes. Although sometimes, he doesn’t have to think too hard about what to open next: “At the moment,” he says, “we’re fairly obsessed with just how fantastically well old [2008] Stony Hill Gewürztraminer pairs with everything.” We also love this simple spicy tuna topping, or this simple Avocado Sea Salt  option.

April 2019


Credit: Victor Protasio

Recipe Summary test

40 mins
Makes 18


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss together eggplant and oil in a medium bowl. Spread in a even layer on an aluminum foil–lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

  • Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer over low. Place miso and sugar in a small heatproof bowl large enough to cover top of saucepan. Set bowl on top of saucepan, creating a double boiler. Cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; gently stir in roasted eggplant. Top each Crispy Rice Cake with about 1 teaspoon warm miso topping, and sprinkle evenly with salt. Serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing

Both the 2014 Mount Eden Chardonnay and the 2015 Saget La Perrière Marie de Beauregard Vouvray stand up to the deeply savory miso eggplant.