You are cozy on the other side of your computer screen, but hungry. Sushi is a great idea, but where to go? Stop. Do not touch the keyboard, unless you are pulling up a map.
Not on the Internet
Finding a reputable sushi restaurant is not something you can do on the Internet. Reviews of restaurants are not reliable sources of information which affects your health and dining experience. If all you are interested in is the decor, by all means Google away.
Can I use a lifeline?
Yes, but I refer you back to the last paragraph. Your BFF probably does not know what to look for beyond a cute waiter and good sake. Since you read the last post, you know what the risks of not knowing what to look for in a restaurant.
Only if you plan on wrapping fish. Get mobile. When you are sitting comfortably at a table within eye shot of the bar, look at the menu. Order something from the kitchen, like tempura. A really good sushi bar will have limited choices from the kitchen. Are you watching the bar?
What am I looking for at the bar?
Have you seen the sushi chef wash his hands or change gloves after each order? Dip his knives? Change his cutting board or sanitize it? All of these actions are necessary to prevent cross-contamination of vegetables and seafood.
What is that?
Watch the trays coming from the kitchen. The vegetables should arrive in small containers, frequently. If there is a large bin of vegetables or sushi in the bar and it takes the chef more than 30 minutes to use them all, this may not be the restaurant where you want eat.
Ginger should be soaking in brine and bright pink. Wasabi is bright green. Roe should be plump. It should remain in a glass container until the maki is rolled in it. The remainder left on the board should be discarded.
What about the fish?
Fresh fish is plump and moist, but does not look like someone wet it with water or syrup. It is either bright white or pink…never yellow, grey or brown. When it arrives from the kitchen, it should be in slabs or whole…never pre-sliced.
Most importantly, fresh fish does not have a pungent odor. No, it does not stink. Take a slug of sake and ask your server or the chef, “When did the fish arrive at the restaurant?” The acceptable answer is: “Today.”
Maki, temaki, nigiri, sasazhushi, chimashi and sashimi should be made to order, not pre-packaged and sitting in the bar waiting to be ordered, unless you are in a sushi bar which has a massive clientele…in Tokyo.
The fish needs to stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit until ready to serve. After being rolled in sushi and wrapped in nori, maintaining that low a temperature is virtually impossible. Fluctuations in temperature causes fish to dry out, get rubbery and smell.
This is not fast food.
A busy sushi chef creates artful, delicious food. Be patient while he steadily prepares your fare. Great sushi is always worth the wait.
What is the Japanese word for your favorite sushi roll or sashimi? Tell me in English, if you do not know!