And now for something completely different... Sushi. I was reminded of the first time I had sushi because a friend and I visited Nanakusa, a Milwaukee sushi bar this week for lunch. I thought sharing my story might encourage you to try sushi too. Here goes...
For a long time, I wanted to try sushi. Yeah, the idea of eating raw fish seems odd, but I'm a curious guy, and wanted to try sushi before dismissing it out-of-hand. I thought, "never know... might be good!"
Well, about 3 years ago while on a business trip to Germany I had an opportunity to give sushi a try. One of my work colleagues in Germany named Rafael, was a sushi enthusiast, driving to the Frankfurt airport on weekends or into downtown Frankfurt to get a weekly fix of sushi. He lobbied me heavily to give sushi a try and being curious about it, I agreed, but not after some thought and contemplation.
After all, I was in Germany and was concerned about heath risks of sushi, especially since I still had meetings to attend and still needed to fly home to the US. Rafael did a great job of telling me about the healthfulness of sushi. I decided to give sushi a try.
So, Rafael, myself, and another work colleague made a trek to downtown Frankfurt to see the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable at the Frankfurt English-language theater. Following the film, we visited one of Rafael's favorite sushi bars called Sushi Circle.
What a cool place! Sushi Circle had a rectangular sushi bar with rounded corners, with sushi chefs preparing selections in the center, behind the bar. Meanwhile, a conveyor belt wound its way around the top of the bar, separating sushi-eaters from the sushi-makers. Once a chef completed a dish he would place it on the conveyor on a plate with one of several color-coded edges, each designating the price. As dishes came around the "circle" you could let them pass, or grab one off the conveyor and enjoy it.
We started dinner with miso soup and hot green tea, then began watching the conveyor belt for the most attractive dishes. My first taste of sushi was a California roll, made of rice and vegetables wrapped in a seaweed strip, followed by an 'Inside out" roll with rice surrounding the vegetables in the center, rather than seaweed. I especially enjoyed the wasabi (a special green horseradish paste) and dipping my sushi into soy sauce with chopsticks. After getting into a groove on the sushi thing, I started to try a few sushi dishes like tuna and salmon which were all extremely tasty!
I had built up the idea that sushi would be very "fishy" tasting but was I quite wrong. The flavor of raw fish was very mild and the texture was smooth as silk. What a surprise! i could really understand how this could be a delicacy. We spent the next hour and a half enjoying different selections and trying more of our favorites.
We stayed until closing time at Sushi Circle and were rewarded with some "freebies" by the chefs, who had been watching the three of us enjoying their hard work. Each one of us received at least 3 free selections from our chefs -- I assumed the free sushi dishes we were given most likely wouldn't be any good the next day. I really appreciated that these chefs would rather see customers enjoy their good sushi than toss it away.
When the time came to depart, payment was quite easy: we just brought our stack of plates to the register, where the hostess added up the cost by plate edge colors. Now, sushi is pricey because it's a delicacy, handmade by trained chefs, but I felt the extra cost was worth it. I figured I wouldn't be having sushi every day, and splurged a bit.
So, if you every have the opportunity to give sushi a try, I can highly recommend it, particularly if you enjoy seafood. You might be surprised too. :-)
Have a great weekend!