For many, the word “sushi” alone conjures up all sorts of weird feelings and facial expressions. I happen to be in the group of people who adores sushi. It wasn’t an immediate love affair, by any means. One of my best male friends who I’ve known for, gosh 26 years now, took me for sushi about 24 years ago. We went to a restaurant in NYC, or was it Morristown, NJ. I can’t remember. We spent a lot of time in the city too, but I’m remembering Morristown for some reason. Anyway, I went home hungry and with no desire to revisit the sushi thing again…for many, many years.
My next experience with sushi…hmmmm….had to about 11 years ago. It started out slowly with California rolls, the novice sushi. The sushi that’s “real” not sushi made of cucumber, avacados and cooked crab meat and, of course, rice. So for those who like their fish cooked, this is a great way to get started if many of your friends are hounding you to join them!
Sushi became a weekly ritual for me about five years ago when my daughters would go spend a night during the week with their dad. It was my night to not cook and eat whatever I chose, and I regularly chose sushi. I began experimenting with tuna, salmon, and even eel, which is incredibly surprising since the thought of snakes just makes me cringe.
One of my favorite places to go when I’m in NYC is Natsumi. My first visit was about four years ago when I spent a long weekend with friends and we were waiting in line to get discounted tickets to Wicked. My friend darted off and returned with sushi rolls for us to eat while waiting. That was just an appetizer. After we scored tickets, we went to Natsumi for a complete dinner. For non-sushi eaters, I guess you could liken the communal sushi-eating experience to a clam bake or oyster roast, or even a tail gating party before the big game. Everyone participating understands each other’s love of raw fish, rolled into bite-sized pieces, the wasabi and ginger, green tea and saki (for some). The fullness you feel afterward and the knowledge that you’ve eaten clean food. Yum!