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Dating Games That Blow at Sushi Rock in Fort Lauderdale

I should've known what I was in for when my blind date, Sir Pompous, told me he barely had time to fit me into his busy schedule. "I can only do, maybe, Tuesday for a quick coffee or, like, late dinner on Sunday or something," he said on the phone. Somehow I took comfort in the fact that this guy even had a voice, because we had been communicating only by text and email for an eternity. I agreed to the Sunday-night opening, mostly because I wondered where the heck he was going to feed me during such an odd time slot.

When he arrived at my humble casa at 9 p.m., he didn't seem fazed with the challenge that lay ahead. S.P. drove me straight to Sushi Rock on Las Olas, telling me the place is one of his local favorites.

I was concerned. Granted, I knew the place had been there for years, but I'm not a fan of testing the sushi waters. It was comforting to see that the place was not only

packed that late on a Sunday but that we would have to wait behind three

other couples. What was unnerving, however, was that S.P. took the

opportunity to open up his blowhole and fire.

"So I heard

you're the restaurant girl. Yeah, well, I know every good restaurant in

town. I know the best steak, the best Italian, the best Mexican..."

Oh, goody.


I rolled my eyes, I noticed that the restaurant's funky décor included a few

petrified fully expanded pufferfish dangling from the ceiling. I

couldn't help snickering to myself, thinking that my date's incessant

boasting may cause my head to explode in a similar fashion.


if you need to know where to go for the best personal trainer, the best

haircut, the best bartender, etc., I got ya covered too," he

blabbered on. "Oh, and if you want to trade in that piece o' shit car

you got, I know someone who can hook you up."

Funny thing is, my car is only 3 years old and has more electronic gadgets than Rosie from the Jetsons. But before I started to give him the what for, we were seated.


there was one thing he proved he really did know: the menu. Per his

suggestion, we started with the ebi shumai, dumplings filled with

ground shrimp and served with a kicky mustard sauce; and the hamachi

kama, salty grilled pieces of Pacific yellowtail collarbone. We both

agreed that the rolls containing fruit sounded kinda gross, so we chose

to forgo selections like the "Monkees roll" with banana tempura and

barbecued eel and the "strawberry fields forever," also with eel but

dotted with green apple and topped with -- you guessed it -- fresh

strawberries. And though I wanted to pay tribute to the recently

deceased King of Pop by

ordering his namesake roll, S.P. talked me into "The Wallflowers,"

consisting of shrimp tempura, avocado, and scallions, then dressed with

eel sauce and baked conch. We also ordered the "Red Hot Chili Peppers

roll," a spicy tuna selection with jalapeño and tempura crunchies.

While our chopsticks flew and our tongues danced around our meal like geishas in a teahouse, he challenged me to a game of name that tune.

Little did he know that I consider myself pretty well-versed in '80s

music. "For every one you get right, I'll give you a buck," he

challenged. "For every one you get wrong, you have to give me a kiss."


did he think I was? A musical hooker? Well, no matter. I'm happy to say

I schooled him. The final tally was Riki: $11/Douchebag: three kisses.

We compromised in the end: He paid the bill, and I gave him three quick,

noncommittal, Dutch rapid-fire cheek kisses.

Then and there,

I decided the fix-ups would have to end. The next guy will have to be

one of my choosing so I can kiss out of desire instead of debt. All I

can say is, this man better be an adventurous eater. And he better know

his '80s music.

Sushi Rock is located at 1515 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-462-5541.


writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try to eat her first

(with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and

older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal

aliens, and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what

happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just

ain't pretty.

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Riki Altman

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