Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Zen in Unexpected Places

Kaitenzushi... it is a somewhat meditative experience for me. Sitting quietly in a row, watching as dish after dish of things I mainly do not eat flow by without cease.

Kaitenzushi is actually a huge boon for vegetarians. I love sushi, but facing a sushi chef and ordering is something I try to avoid at all costs.

If you think about it, these guys (because the world of sushi is intensely male-dominated) have spent many years learning how to get each cut of fish to the perfect thickness, in order to showcase the taste of each individual fish. And then I show up, asking for kappa, inari, tamago, ume shiso etc...

Needless to say, it kinda gets on their nerves.

But here, at the kaiten, I do not have to upset the chefs, and in addition pretty much everything I eat is on the 100 yen plates! Total bargain. Admittedly, the quality level is not the same, and it can get a bit noisy, but at the same time it has a strangely relaxing effect.

Maguro, maguro, aji, corn salad, shrimp, cake... a conveyor loop of bite sized, relatively innocuous junk food.

It makes me wonder what other kind of kaiten might do well... a fancy sweets kaiten, all of the desserts on Delft-printed plates and little doilies? Cheese kaiten, small bites of unusual cheeses, with choices of breads, crackers and honeys to accompany them? I found out about a wine equivalent in Ginza, which I must go check out.

I find this passtime particularly satisfying on days I know that dinner/ drinks will be extremely fancy and high grade. There is just something about getting the cheapest and priciest in one day, combini onigiri and 3 Michelin stars.

The contrast this time was with the unbelievable KitaAoyama Salon. The dark, antique-filled space. The terribly discreet little door. The mind-blowingly delicious cocktails, champagnes and hand-made truffles. Even I, who usually stop at two drinks, was swayed by the sheer quality of their creations, like the ginger /copper-infused cocktail and the shiso mojito. This place is a gem... but take note, like all precious things it comes at a price.

 

10 comments:

  1. Cheese kaiten! What an excellent idea! ^^

    I once read - can't remember where - that women can't be sushi chefs because the temperature of our hands is too high!

    Heh. Where would you rather be: cutting up a dead (or worse, alive!) fish or baking a chocolate cake? :p

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    1. Yes, I heard that as well! Very strange...

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    2. That always confused me! As many women I've known have enjoyed comparing to see who has icier hands...

      Also that wine conveyor belt is either the best thing or the worst. Only one way to find out which.

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    3. Well, the wine isn't actually on a conveyor belt. You buy a prepaid card, and then choose the quantity and type of wine you want, and it gets dispensed into a nice, proper wine glass :)

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  2. I love kaiten sushi :) People who visit me from the US are sometimes skeptical because the ones over there are not top rate, but they're always surprised at the quality here! It doesn't beat a sushi bar, but some are really good... with much less pressure :)

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    1. Agreed!
      I went to one in London. Paid 15 pounds for 4 plates which anyone in Japan wouldn't give to their cat... never again.

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  3. I love the lighting of the second bar/cafe (?). Looks like a great spot for chilling with a couple good friends and good drinks :)

    I would love to see things like Kaiten desert or cheese. A nice break away from the desert buffets (which I love but hate going to because they're usually noisy and crowded :< ).

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    1. It is amazing, I really hope my salary goes up a bit so I can go there semi-regularly(*^^*)

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