Hello dear readers,
Happy Thursday! Only one more day until you-know-what. I have to work on my novel rewrites and journalism articles all weekend, but I’m still psyched.
You know the expression “dress for the job you want”? Well, each Thursday I’m going to be writing for the life I want. This day of the week will be a thrilling adventure into amazing places, unique experiences, and one-of-a-kind moments…everything I’m dreaming about as I strive to live a life less ordinary. And if you’ve been lucky enough to have first-hand knowledge of anything I write about, please chime in! I’m counting on my New York readers to help me live vicariously today.
Those who know me know I love sushi. I’m crazy about the stuff. It’s a serious addiction…I get actual cravings for it. As much as I want to move to a nice little island, there had better be a place to get sushi, even if I have to catch it myself.
Falling in love with sushi was a gradual process. The first time I tried sashimi, I found it bland–its mild flavor overwhelmed by the pickled ginger and wasabi people were erroneously slapping on it back then. (If you’re still doing this–stop! Mix the wasabi into your soy sauce for flavor. The ginger is a palate cleanser between rolls.) I stuck with the “safe” options for awhile…those ubiquitous teriyaki dinners, which were quite good, but unsatisfying compared to the rainbow of tastes and textures my dinner companions were enjoying. I kept going to sushi restaurants with aficionados who offered me samples of everything they ordered. It was in this way I learned what I liked, and before I knew it, I was hooked. Big time.
Strangely enough, my prairie town has its share of great sushi restaurants. But if you want the very best sushi outside of Japan, you go to Kurumazushi.
I first learned of this mythical place from Ruth Reichl, former restaurant critic for the New York Times and former editor of Gourmet magazine. Reichl has eaten her way through most countries in the world, and she knows her stuff. In her memoir Garlic and Sapphires, she writes:
Raw shrimp as soft as strawberries was followed by marinated herring roe, which popped eerily beneath our teeth. Gently smoked salmon gleamed like coral. Then Mr. Uezu pillowed some sea urchin on pads of rice. (It was)…the sexiest thing I’ve ever eaten. But after eating at Kurumazushi it is very hard to go back to ordinary fish.
She goes on for pages, describing a meal that can only be appreciated by those who really love the edible art of sushi. There is no teriyaki, no tempura, and no noodles at Kurumazushi–just the perfection of flavors from the sea. The Mr. Uezu Reichl writes of is widely considered to be one of the best sushi chefs in the world, and he is still there, working his magic, consistently achieving umami, the Japanese word describing the taste that occurs when everything is exactly right for the moment.
One day I will visit New York, my reservation for two at Kurumazushi already secure. I will take The Boy, who I know will appreciate the experience. We will walk in together and proudly say one of the most beautiful words in existence:
Putting ourselves in the chef’s hands for the evening. This will cost approximately $250 per person, and it will be oh.so.worth.it. Mmm….
Have any of my wonderful readers been lucky enough to experience Kurumazushi? If so, please please PLEASE share your story! And for the rest of us mere mortals, any great sushi story will do.
Kurumazushi’s sushi bar
I can already taste the sushi through your words. Can’t wait to go!
I agree! The problem with sushi, however, is that you can never chew it slow enough. Eventually you have to swallow it, and it’s gone! Go to New York, go to Japan! $250 a person for a beautiful gastronomic experience is a bargain! I can remember a meal I had in Beijing 20 years ago – you can’t say that was a souvenir that didn’t last!
This post made me hungry. Love sushi, too.
Thanks for your comments, everyone!
@ Chris – you mean through Riechl’s words. 🙂 Me too!
@ Angela – that sounds amazing. Please tell me more! My number one goal is to see more of this incredible world we live in.
@ Life As I Know It – me, too! Glad we’re having sushi for dinner tonight.
It was a vegetarian restaurant. I’ll have to look it up in my 1990 Lonely Planet China on a Shoe String travel guide to find the name of it. The menu was in Chinese, so I don’t know what I ate, but it was amazing! As long as I knew it wasn’t some weird animal part, who cared that I had no idea what I was eating! I remember a fish sculpted out of…mashed potatoes? Who knows, but someone spent a lot of time making almond sliver scales! I remember every smell, sight and emotion as the dishes were brought out. We were 5 or 6 of us from the backpacker’s hotel, so there were many dishes and courses. I think at the end of the night, the entire bill was, like $60 Canadian! It was a different time.
I often wonder with all the development China is encountering, is that restaurant still there? Maybe one day I’ll go back and see, if not, I’ll never forget that night. One of the best meals I ever had!
This made me want sushi SOOOO badly. Thanks a lot!
Really, what a fantastic post. I would totally pay that price for sushi if I could spare it!
@ Angela – thanks so much for sharing your story in more detail! It sounds like a fabulous experience. Lucky you for being able to travel to such interesting places! These experiences are priceless.
@ Michelle – thanks for your comment! I’m with you – it’s worth saving for. And I had sushi for dinner Thursday night. 🙂