you have easy access to a Japanese translator who can help you find the best
go for it. That way you can delve deep into the heart of Tokyo town or Little
Japan, to restaurants that cater especially to Japanese.
Since 99% of Sushi restaurants in the U.S.A. have English on their menu, you probably won’t need that Japanese translator just to find good sushi. A professional translation might be fun if you are obsessed with learning more about Japanese culture. Think of how fun it would be to get a lesson in Japanese as you order your sushi.
BUT, For those of you who are not linguistic enthusiasts, but just want great sushi, follow these steps to find the freshest platter:
Go for High Turnover
In most cases “high turnover” is a negative point for a business. But we’re talking about high turnover of fish, in this case. You want a restaurant with a constant flow and turnover of customers, because that means the fish is getting eaten quickly. A steady flow of customers means a steady movement of fish. You don’t want fish that has been sitting around. That’s when you get odorous plates that make you a tad queasy. It might taste okay but something feels wrong about it. Hours later you might get an upset stomach, or worse. Plus, with the considerable price of sushi, you don’t want to end up with something unappetizing.
Don’t get Sushi at the Store
Those little sushi containers at the supermarket are not worth it, even for a quick fix. Unless you have a store with it’s own sushi restaurant, with lots of customers, that sushi box has probably been sitting there for hours. Look at it closely. Is there an expiration date? Sushi should be eaten the same day it is made. Can you ask the chef how recently it was made? If the chef is not around, inspect the condition of the fish. Even the brightest, freshest looking sushi may smell stinky when opened. The price on store-bought sushi is usually not much different from buying it directly in a sushi restaurant. So, for a fast grocery pick you may want to opt for a salad or sandwich instead. Save your sushi experience for when you can get it really fresh.
Go where everyone else is going
A barren sushi place is suspect. If the lunch hour brings only a couple customers, don’t go there (unless it is a brand new restaurant, then you may want to give it a chance). You want the place that is crowded with sushi lovers. Also, avoid the restaurants that have slimy pieces of fish on display.
Take a long look at the chef and wait staff
Do the chef and wait staff carry themselves with pride? If so, they are probably proud of their restaurant, an excellent sign. If instead you notice a depressed, embarrassed look, it could be connected to the quality of food or dismal state of business. A successful business boosts the spirit of everyone involved. Look for that spirit.
In the end, there will always be some risk when trying a new sushi restaurant, but that’s part of the fun! Trying a small dish to start can’t take you too far wrong. At the worst you’ll be vomiting for hours, at the best you’ll have a hot spot to tell all your friends about. Once your trust is established in a restaurant, be sure to branch out and try some unfamiliar dishes.
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