Scary or Not ! [Sushi]


Foreigners are scary sometimes, Japanese too. I walked past this mannequin and it scared me for a split second. I was on my way for some sushi, my favourite hangout, I am often the only person there at lunch, or it is full.

I have been going to the same sushi counter for 30+ years and I never get bored of the quality. I think what most people miss is understanding quality sushi. I know the standard in Japan is excellent, but so many sushi counters are sterile. Young sushi chefs focus more on style, and less on tradition, or these confuse both.

I am not searching for show off knife technique extraordinare, or fancy cuts, or spongy tamago, I am interested in balance. The balance between sushi and rice, between taste and texture. The idea that red wine vinegar does not have any bite, or pronounced taste when you bite your sushi. I cannot enjoy myself when a sushi chef’s rice vinegar dominates the taste, and it happens more than you think.

I was doing some research today and I went through my sushi binder, I have 15 pages. I re-visited many, searched them on the internet, and found out that some became Michelin. It makes sense, but what happens when a sushi counter gets Michelinized – not much good. A good sushi counter cannot accept foreigners unless they are well-trained in sushi etiquette, that means; no perfume, no elbows, no wasabi sauce, no loud conversation, no noise, no accidents, no ugly American dress, and no asking questions, and especially about the bill.

Oh, before I forget, I looked at tablelog, a Japanese survey of restaurants by users. I found out that Jiro ranks #48, and not number one. I laughed a little, I still think he is much better than Saito sushi, which is a very bad joke. So most probably tablelog is not reliable enough for my taste, or does it get “fixed” by users and friends. I did learn that some hotel GM’s were fired for having employees post raving reviews on Trip Advisor.