Poké in the Rear is located behind Aqua Nightclub at 504 Angela St. Keys Weekly file photo

You’ve heard of the craft beer movement, artisanal balsamic vinegar and elaborate olive oil. Now add soy sauce to the list of products that get better with time and when produced in small batches.

Grant Portier, chef and co-owner of Poké in the Rear on Angela Street, recently found himself experimenting with some of the more distinctive drizzles of soy sauce and decided he had to share his discoveries.

The result? A seven-course craft soy sauce and sake pairing dinner at Poké in the Rear.

“Look at this. It’s black garlic soy sauce. These specialty sauces are becoming huge in Japan and once you try them, you’ll never go back to the red or green Kikkoman’s soy sauce that’s been in your fridge for years. I wanted to do something unique for a special foodie dinner, and these sauces were my inspiration,” Portier said while also showing off a perfectly marbled Japanese steak that will be one of the dinner courses. “These craft soy sauces are so flavorful, so complex, it’s almost as if you’re tasting a wine, with all its layers. I’ve been letting our diners help themselves to this array of craft soy sauces and they’re hooked.”

Portier is not alone in his analysis. 

Poké in the Rear is celebrating the craft soy sauce movement with a specialty soy and sake pairing dinner on Jan. 9. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

“There are 300 different aromas in soy sauce, apparently, a figure comparable to wine,” food writer Michael Booth explains in his exploration of soy sauce in Japan for saveur.com

The cutting-edge, seven-course dinner at Poké in the Rear will take place on Sunday, Jan. 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Poké in the Rear.

“This is a dinner not to be missed,” Portier said. “We are taking off the gloves and showing what we can really do. Seven courses, each paired with a very special drink, talks by our soy sauce maker, music by Andrew Burelson and all around, a truly memorable night.”

Only 36 tickets are being sold, and only 16 were remaining as of Jan. 4, he said.

The cost is $195 per person, which includes tax but not tip, Portier said.

Each course is perfectly paired with sake, Yamazaki single malt scotch or Grand Marnier Cuvée Centenaire, 100-year anniversary edition.

Grant Portier and Jenn Stefanacci-Portier of Poké in the Rear and the adjacent 22&Co. bar. Keys Weekly file photo

It all starts with a welcome drink, an elevated Lychee Martini created by Grant’s wife and business partner Jenn Stefanacci-Portier, who owns the adjacent 22&Co. Bar.

Then there’s an heirloom mushroom, backfin crab and goat cheese roulade, fresh belon oysters topped with trout roe and ponzu, Key West pink shrimp with craft soy sauce and grilled white asparagus, Hawaiian moonfish sashimi, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with grilled, purple Japanese eggplant and steamed bok choy, Japanese Wagyu strip steak, seared and served atop a Himalayan salt block with white truffle parsnip puree and finally a candied pecan and golden raisin croissant bread pudding with the 100-year Grand Marnier.

Visit Poké in the Rear on Facebook for reservations and prepare to have your tastes changed forever. 

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.