By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
The whole ordeal at Masamune convinced me to formulate some rules for sushi eaters. So if you want to get serious about sushi, here's my advice:
1) Pick a restaurant and stick with it. Sit at the bar and order off the board. Greet the chef when you sit down. It's polite.
2) Don't eat anything before your sashimi — soup, rolls, fried dumplings. You're preserving your taste buds for the delicate flavors of good fish.
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3) Eat sashimi first (plain slabs of raw fish), then sushi (with rice).
4) Don't make a mudbath of your soy-wasabi and slather it all over your sushi. On sushi, use soy only. Lightly dip sashimi in soy-wasabi. This is about tasting the fish.
5) You know those hot towels they give you? They're to disinfect your fingers so you can eat with them. Only sashimi is eaten with chopsticks. Pick up your sushi (that's the stuff with the rice) in your fingers and dunk fish-side-down in soy sauce. Then eat it in one bite, if possible. A good sushi chef will make each piece to fit your mouth.
6) Order a "Sexy-time Lady Dragon Jade Roll" and earn the undying condescension of the chef, who will never forgive you. Don't order rolls that mix lots of different fishes. How could you possibly taste what's going on in all that goo?
7) Don't ask, "What's fresh?" It's insulting. Instead, ask the chef for guidance. What does he recommend today?
8) Use your eyes. If it looks dried out and flaccid in the case, it is.
9) Try new things. If they've got monkfish liver or sea eel or sweet shrimp with the heads on or scallops still alive in their shell, give it a whirl. The chef will know you're adventurous, his reserve will begin to crack, and he might even start to share his hard-earned wisdom with you.
10) The nicest compliment you can give a sushi chef is to tell him that you can "taste the relationship" between his fish and his rice. Maybe. Or maybe he'll just look at you like you're nuts.
Try your hand with Mikey at Masamune and see if he doesn't start treating you like sushi royalty. Remember that he's the master and you're the student. Study hard and you just may graduate into advanced coursework. Maybe sometime around the year 2020.