Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rethinking My Taste for Japanese Food, One Shocking Dish at a Time

The night before Nathan got underway, we went out for a pre-deployment feast. "Let's go all out!" I declared. "Let's try new things!" We've fallen into a routine, always ordering the same four or five things, so we decided to get a little bit culinarily adventurous. Here is where I should note two things about our ordering decisions:
  1. We usually order veggie tempura, but I've gotten a bit New Englandy & discovered a like (I wouldn't call it a love yet) of crab & lobster, so I suggested we go with the soft-shell crab tempura this time. He agreed.

  2. Nathan became excited about the idea of knocking something off of his 101 in 1,001 List (see mine here), which was "Eat an animal I've never tried before." Because I told him trout didn't count, he went with sea urchin sushi. When the waiter asked if he'd like egg atop it, he expected tamago, a sweet egg made with suga - so he said yes.
When our appetizer showed up, it looked like this:

Yeah, that's not what I had in mind. While I blubbered on & on about OH MY GOD, THAT IS AN ENTIRE DEEP-FRIED CRAB all while doing my best not to make A Huge Scene (capital letters required because this was a feat), Nathan bravely ripped off & ingested a leg. And then another. He eventually convinced me to - very hesitantly - do the same, though I neither of us could bring ourselves to eat very much of it, & we were so, so relieved when the busboy finally whisked it away.

Except then our meal came:

Yes, ABOMINATION. That's the sea urchin nigiri with raw quail eggs atop it - because sea urchin alone wasn't bad enough. Remember the time Nathan drank a Longshoreman? Yeah, it's sort of like he has a salmonella death wish. Hey, did you want a close-up of that sushi disaster? I thought you might:

 

I'll wait while you struggle to keep your last meal down. And in case you were wondering whether this little gem of a dish went down smoothly (uh, the answer is obviously that it didn't), I caught it on tape for you...

...except that I felt so bad for him that I turned the camera off after only a few seconds. And he dry heaved half of the way home.

Yes, it seems I got a little too big for my britches when I bragged in this post that I'd dramatically expanded my palate. Perhaps I'll stick to good old grilled cheese for a bit while I recover from this one.

21 comments:

Sam Lehman said...

FINALLY.

rachel schonwald said...

well, he tried it! so he can check it off the list...

also, instead of getting a soft shell crab next time, get a spider roll. it's all wrapped up in sushi and the legs only come out on each end - i discovered it in high school in Boston and loved it ever since.

Magda said...

oh, I think it all looks toooo delicious. that's me :)

Rob Judd said...

raw quail egg is delish. have you ever had it on beef tartare? magnifique!

Suburban Sweetheart said...

You shut your foodie mouth, Rob Judd.

rachelsmiles said...

Good for you guys! I'm not a huge fan of the raw egg yolk, they should have been more explicit about that. But I think just the fact that you have an open mind about food is really exciting! Lots of people don't see it that way. I have a cousin who only eats beef and pork; he doesnt eat anything that swims or flys. Ridiculous. anywhoo, I love sushi and the other rolls looked delish!

Owen said...

I am sorry, but I have to side with Rob here.

Also the entire point of soft shell crab is eating the shell. If it makes you squeamish, try finding a restaurant that slaps it onto a sandwich. So so so good.

Nora_L said...

What a brave man you have there; I don't think I would have taken it that far at all. That and I don't like fish/sushi, so yeah...

Erin B. Inspired said...

I love reading posts about people trying new foods. I've always had a broad palate. My dad said I was in a high chair eating sushi - like, real sushi not that American-ized stuff (though I enjoy that, too). One of my favorite things ever is good, sushi-grade fresh raw tuna. NOM. J (and most of my friends) have the palates of toddlers and tend to stick with chicken fingers when all else fails, haha.

Anyway, quick story about sea urchin - one of my exboyfriends was a sushi-holic. He ate EVERYTHING. One night he decided to be adventurous and try the sea urchin, something he'd never had before. He described it by saying it tasted like the gunk that lines a drain pipe, LOL. I've stayed away from sea urchin since.

PS Soft-shelled crab is good, no? I like it. :)

graceelena said...

I like to be adventurous sometimes but usually I am not when I am at restaurants. That video is hilarious with the birthday song in the background. ha! And that raw egg looks gross. I cannot do raw egg. Props to you two for trying something new.

CAPow! said...

I am never THAT adventurous when it comes to sushi...I've found that I like Salmon and I stick with it. I spice it up with an avocado roll occasionally. Sea Urchin? Hells no.

Suburban Sweetheart said...

I've learned my lesson! Never doing it again. :)

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Haha I'm so glad someone commented on that absurd birthday video. It happened THREE TIMES while we were there!

Suburban Sweetheart said...

Ha! I'll have to pass along that analogy. I somehow suspect he'll agree.

skinny_dip said...

Oh Kate!! You guys tried some stuff that even as an experienced sushi lover I wouldn't order! I'm actually surprised that they were serving the sea urchin because usually you can't find those kinds of dishes in Toronto (I think because no one orders them), I only ever see them on menus when I go back home to Vancouver.

The Happy Birthday playing in the background adds a whole other level of creepiness to this whole scene...sort of like when you hear music boxes playing in horror films.

Jaclyn said...

I really like the "happy birthday to you" in the background. Also, I'm still happy with my sushi lunch today :) I had spicy salmon and eel avocado rolls.

If you've not had eel, AKA unagi, it's a really not-scary scary sounding sushi food. A good way to make you feel good about trying new things without anything being too over-the-top.

Daphne said...

rethinking recommitting to a vegan lifestyle :-)

terra said...

Ugh....that's just not right. But sweet potato roll? Yes, please!

suki said...

lol - these foods are not for everyone. if you had presented that uni to my sister, she would've been all over that, probably hogging it all for herself. :p

Maxie said...

I would try the raw egg but it still makes my stomach churn a little. Ugh.

sarah said...

This looks DELICIOUS!!!!

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