Sushi Etiquette

I’m not surprised to find out that there are a lot of bits of sushi etiquette that I didn’t know about, but some of these I think I’ll purposefully ignore moving forward.Now I like me some sushi, but the biggest problem I run into is with rolls. There’s a joint I frequent in Atlanta called Aqua Bistro in Buckhead, and I love a roll they have on their menu called the Yummy Yummy roll. I can be found there pretty much any Monday night that I’m in the ATL, because it’s 2 for 1 roll night, and fat boy likes to eat. But the rolls that I get some places are so big, it seems like it’s impossible to get it all in my mouth in one bite without cramming my mouth full and looking like a huge boor.

Now typically I don’t care, because in many cases I am a huge boor, but I wonder why the rolls are made so huge that I have to try to bite through it, which typically leads to a huge fail on my part. So I try to eat as delicately as possible, but often end up making a huge mess. But back to the rules – some of these just don’t work for me. For one, I like dipping my rice in the soy, so I’m going to dip my rice in the soy. And if you don’t like it, deal with it. And if I’m given disposable chopsticks, I’m gonna rub them together. That’s just the deal. If I get high-tone chopsticks, I’ll trust them to be splinter-free. And sometimes I like dropping a little wasabi in my soy. Not always, depends on the mood.

But more importantly, where are there some other good sushi joints that I’m missing? In Charlotte I love New Zealand Cafe, and Rousan’s is always harmless. But I’m always looking for recommendations in Charlotte and Atlanta, since those are the cities that I eat most of my meals in.

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7 thoughts on “Sushi Etiquette

  1. First…. all in one bite is a Japanese thing.
    So is too much soy as it shows “disrespect” for the fish.
    Next… you’re not really a sushi guy. You love the silly Americanization style rolls. They’re made big so you’ll fill up on rice.
    Your soy habit tells me that you rarely, if ever, taste the fish as you’ve killed it with salt.
    Please try NIKKO….. which is on South Blvd. just a stones throw from C K’s house.
    Shushi 101 on Fairview at South Blvd is also good. I too enjoy Rusan.. Had lunch there last week. And you know about Eez… which Bad Blood fell in love with.

  2. I was just dealing with this issue last week! I am uneducated in the sushi etiquette arena, but I have enjoyed most everything I’ve ever tried. So anyhoo-I was at Yu Raku Tei (on Butler Rd. in Mauldin just off 385 if your rollin through Greenville) with my photo partner & an old friend from high school when they started giving me shit for cutting my rolls. I commented that it didn’t seem ladylike to stuff the whole roll in my mouth. Ha-my old friend laughed at me uttering the concern over being ladylike – not something he ever would have heard back in the day. I’m just wondering when I turned into my mother.

  3. There are some reasons for the rules, but they don’t apply universally.

    In a quality sushi joint, the fish is incredibly fresh and high quality. The rice on nigiri is often pre-seasoned with subtle flavours to complement the specific fish on top. Often, the wasabi is aleady in the rice. By dipping the rice in soy, you overwhelm those flavours and destroy the balance the chef worked hard to create.

    It also reverses the order of taste. With nigiri, you should eat with the fish down, so it hits your tongue first, and the the rice is tasted second.

    Nigiri should also be eaten with the fingers, not chopsticks.

    For sashimi at high-class places, it is often served along with a specific dipping sauce, or pre-seasoned. Dipping a piece of sashimi into sauce kills all the flavour of the fish you just paid for. You might as well get the cheapest one on the menu.

    Then come the maki rolls – no rules here really. Mix the wasabi with your soy sauce and dip away. I love rolls too, but authentic they ain’t. Avocado? Mayo? Not Japanese.

    And these rules don’t really apply to middle-of-the-road and cheaper sushi joints. The fish is often less fresh, less expertly cut, and mass-produced without specific seasonings. Dip away! Same with the chopsticks. Good joints use good sticks. Cheap ones are splinter factories, rub man! Rub!

  4. I’d second Sushi 101 as a good choice in the Charlotte area.

    If you are ever towards the coast, I’ve had some of the best sushi at this little place in Elizabeth City, NC. Wasn’t there when I grew up there but man is it awesome!

  5. When you are in the Atlanta area, if you can venture as far north as Sandy Springs, which is just a bit OTP but not terribly far and is a straight shot up 400, you should hit Nori Nori. An amazing buffet of everything from sushi to tofu dishes to tempura to steaks to soups to desserts. Lunch prices are better than dinner (15 vs. 24), but it is all you can eat either way.

    Say the word and I’ll meet you there.

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