Monday, January 02, 2006

Sushi Tips for Beginners, And I Get an Awesome Tip

On Friday I had my best tip night ever at the bar, partly thanks to this one guy who tipped me $60 and bought me a shot. I was feeling very Coyote Ugly that night. Also , it was incredibly busy that night, adding to the best tip night ever but also making me absolutely exhausted when I left. For once I was glad to go home on a Friday night and do nothing much.

I've been getting kind of sick of that place lately but Friday helped. I might stick around until the summer now. It's a Japanese sushi bar and steakhouse run by Chinese people. The owner is the sushi chef and he feeds me raw fish sometimes. I never had it before I worked there but 2005 was all about trying new things so whatever he offers, I try at least once. I'm still not convinced I'd pay money for the stuff but most of it is passably edible.

Tuna and Salmon are good places to start for anyone interested. They are mild tasting and have a good texture, which means they are not slimy, as you might expect. You might even convince yourself that what you are eating is tofu (not that tofu is much more appealing than raw fish). They are mild enough that if you dip the sushi in soy sauce or take a little wasabi with it, you might even think you are eating rice with soy sauce and wasabi.

Another roll I don't mind much is Eel. The Eel roll is cooked, not raw. It does have a definite taste to it and a chewier texture than Tuna or Salmon, but the taste is still relatively mild yet distinct, like shrimp, lobster or crab. Of course, there are other cooked rolls that you can order and still have the coolness factor of having eaten at a sushi bar: Crunchy Tuna or Crunchy Scallops are good ones. They are tempura battered and fried before being rolled. Of course, if you truly want to stay away from raw, I should tell you to brush the neon orange little round balls off the top of your roll because that is fish roe.

There are two things I would never eat even when offered to me for free. The first, Sea Urchin, I have tried before but found it retch-worthy. It is so rubbery you can barely chew it and it has a nasty bumpy quality to it as well. I can't even say that once you get past the texture you might enjoy the taste. The taste is just nasty and no amount of wasabi can cover it up. Trust me; I tried. The other is also cooked and I have never tried it and never will, on principle. The chef takes a martini glass (One of mine!! How dare he!!) and makes a bed of rice noodles, on top of which he lays several inch-wide baby octopi! They just sit there with their tiny bodies resting in the middle of their eight little arms all splayed out. It is so horrible and I just can't wash the martini glass enough times after the bus boy gives it back to me.

Of course, my best advice when going to a Japanese sushi and steakhouse is just order the steak.