Today is International Sushi Day! Here are your choices for this afternoon and night. Yes, your only choices.
(1) Visit the Coolidge Corner Theatre for Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a film about Jiro Ono, renowned as the world’s greatest sushi chef. The dedicated 85-year-old is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat sushi restaurant, located in a Tokyo subway station, that the sushi-infatuated from all over the world journey to. Despite being the first sushi chef to be awarded a 3-star Michelin review, Jiro still labors each day from morning to night toward what he believes is “perfection.” The film, directed by David Gelb, centers on this elderly man’s vigorous hard work and his relationship with his eldest son Yoshikazu, who is set to inherit his legacy, but will likely never live up to his father’s notoriety. The Coolidge will be showing Jiro Dreams of Sushi today through Thursday.
(2) Learn how to make sushi yourself! The below tutorial isn’t bad, but according to the video you’ll need sushi rice, nori, a bamboo sushi roll matt, plastic wrap, a rice paddle, a sharp knife, and whichever other ingredients you want to put in. You’ll probably also need fairly nimble fingers, and approximately 5-8 years of practice and commitment. But besides that, pick up some Saki and maybe some add-water-and-heat miso soup and you’re good to roll.
(3) Go spend some dough at a sushi restaurant. My favorite Japanese restaurants are Fish Market in Allston and Bamboo in Dedham. Fish Market is tiny, with only 4 or 5 tables and 6 or so seats at the bar. Many, including myself, have been spotted outside waiting for a table in the frosty December/January/February weather. The spot has been praised for their avocado ball, a delectable little ball of tuna and flying fish roe, covered with avocado that’s always perfectly ripe.
Bamboo is one of those “in-a-hotel” restaurants, but trust me, it’s no Bickford’s Grille. The place is huge, with both a sushi bar and…regular?…bar and lots of tables. They also have locations in Westford and Bedford. Bamboo serves both Chinese and Japanese food, but if you know what’s good for you you’ll eat the raw fish. The Sashimi salad with a lemony mayo dressing is delicious, and I appreciate how they never give super-tiny portions like I’ve seen at other sushi joints. Also worth a try is the for-sharing Scorpion Bowl, which will leave you enticingly wasted pleased with your classy dining experience.
However, if you ever find yourself browsing store fronts among the residents of Wellesley and Newton at the Natick Collection, do not stop to eat at Wasabi. Seriously, just choose the Cheesecake Factory or CPK. Although this place may not resemble your typical mall-sushi joint, at all costs remember that tried and true elementary-school expression: never judge a book by its cover. Wasabi, with its Kaiten-zushi style (sushi that goes around on a conveyor belt) and sleek appearance, may look so very New York, but the quality is so very Pawnee (so yes, you could joke that the quality is fictional, if you want to get into technicalities). But in reality, dining at Wasabi is like leaving a dent on a parked car sans note: not so bad at the moment, but full of regret later on.