Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Turning Japanese

Last night was my friend Tova's birthday and she wanted to have her party in a tatami room at Fuji Sushi, in Seattle's International District. I never go down to the ID -- partly because I think it's filthy and smells of centuries of old fish and other vices, and partly because my spirit is not, shall we say, moved by typical Asian food.

That's why I jumped at the chance to try this more traditional and, I assured delicious, approach to Japanese cuisine.

Our room, pictured above, was a plain wood floor (what about the tatami mats?) and there was a pit in the floor under the table into which one's feet dangled -- this made it much more comfortable than trying to fold your legs up under the table. I purposefully did not wear my tight hipster jeans because I thought I would die of a leg-folding embolism; next time I come I will know to wear them!

Before our food came we all made origami chopstick rests. Mine was a tour de force, as you can see.

This tomfoolery was quickly brought to an end by a steady parade of food. Sashimi (including a delectable mirugai and fresh hirame), sushi (unagi! toro!) and various rolls, broths and salads. All of this was washed down with jug after jug of crisp, cold sushi.

The grande finalé, as advised by our charming and vastly efficient waitress, was a fresh Spanish mackerel sashimi. It arrived, as shown above, with a breathtaking presentation -- the iridescence of the flesh was like beaten silver leaf. After we ate the meat, the waitress had the bones deep fried and brought them back to us: a crispy, lightly fishy treat.

All in all, I can't say I was converted to becoming an Asian food maniac over this one meal, but I can say that I was reminded how delicious Asian food -- in this case, Japanese cuisine -- can be and I certainly now have a destination next time I am feeling the sashimi urge.

Fuji Sushi is located at 520 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104-2753 (206) 624-1201. You must reserve tatami rooms in advance.

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