Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to Find a Good Sushi Restaurant

I can't take credit for this post. My older brother found this on Sushi Otaku's blog, which is pretty self explanatory: How to Find a Good Sushi Restaurant.

One thing I didn't know from before:

The tamago (egg) nigiri is a bellwether of things to come.
I asked my brother about this, and he agreed. "When Charlie Trotter first started out in Chicago," he explained, "he was interviewing for some position with another chef. The guy said to him, 'Let's see if you can cook. Make me an omelette.' So apparently the egg is really hard to get right." The humble egg, it seems, is a prime indicator of a sushi chef's skill in both Japanese and French cuisine, just like stir-fried beef is for Cantonese cooking, and Kung Pao Chicken for any Chinese restaurant claiming a Szechuan/Hunan heritage.

Ume-maki ... what's the point? Nearly every sushi aficionado always talked about the fish, the fish, and the fish. If you're going to pay $4 for two pieces of nigiri, you'd better believe I'm going for the hamachi tuna. According to one of the comments of this blog, the Japanese plum is taken as a sort of traditional dessert, or wrap-up to a meal. I'll have to try it one of these days, after polishing off a whole fish.

There are some follow-up comments posted by some dude called 'Brian' (no relation to me) in the aforementioned blog that I simply don't agree with, one in particular:

A Japanese itamae is indicative of a good sushi restaurant. I think i'll have to call upon all my first order logic skills to dispatch this one. **ahem** The presence of a Japanese itamae is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for a good sushi restaurant. I've had terrible sushi served to me by itamaes of all races, shapes, and sizes. And I've had great sushi made by non-japanese chefs. Perhaps this is less of an issue with other cuisines, I don't know. To paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, chances are, that awesome 3-star risotto you're eating has been prepared by some anonymous Salvadorean laborer hunkering over a hot stove in a 98-degree kitchen.

At any rate, I'll have more on sushi in the next few days. I'm down in LA again, and that means I'll try to make a stop at my favorite place in Orange County: Sushi Wasabe.

Although, I might have to stop at Uoko sometime, based on this review.


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