Sunday, March 22, 2009

Conveyor Belt Sushi!

Joan wanted sushi on Friday night, primarily 'bento box' (to go) sushi so she could use the containters for more mini seedling green houses. We invited Steve, my old Peace Corps buddy along, and he suggested this little place down on Skip Dori, the street just over from us that has the pedestrian section near the train station. He asked us if we had ever had 'conveyor belt sushi' before, and we said, “No, but we've seen it before.” He said, “Let's go!” We replied, “We shall,” and off we shent (a combination of went and shall...).

It was a small restaurant with the cooks standing in the middle of an island surrounded by a chest high conveyor belt on top of a counter with stools. We had to wait a few minutes to get seats, but the moment we sat down, it was time to dig in. Any plate that came slowly by at head height was up for grabs. We didn't know if the prices were normal or some sort of special for the Vernal Equinox holiday, but everything was 136 yen (approximately $1.36). You just stack the empty plates in front of you, and when you are done, the waiter just counts up your plates and does the math. Joan and I ate about twelve of the small plates of food between us, so it cost just about $16 for the two of us.

Also on the counter in front of us were tubs of pickled ginger, spicy and strong. There were cannisters of powdered green tea, but since I did not know how much to put in a cup, I asked the guy next to me how many tiny little scoops to put in. He told me two and showed me have to depress the plunger on the tiny hot water spigot set in the counter top.

Also rolling by was a small round wooden lacquered tub. In it was one our favorite things, especially with sushi: WASABI! We love the green spicy hot paste/mustard made from Japanese horseradish. On a small side dish, we loaded up the pink ginger and green wasabi, ready for our first choice!

Steve had been talking up this sushi that was a seaweed wrapped roll of rice topped with fermented red beans that he claimed the Japanese loved but he couldn't stand and that we wouldn't like it. To prove him wrong, I grabbed what he thought was one of those. Just about to grab it with chopsticks and chow down, Steve said, “Whoa, I think that one is the fermented bean sushi,” pointing at a different sushi roll. I took a closer look at the pale, white and kind of creamy topping on my roll. I am still not sure what it was exactly, but our best bet was some type of marine animal intestines. Needless to say, that one stayed on the plate, thank you very much!

We were soon tucking into BBQ eel, salmon, tuna, and other random fishy things. Luckily, there was a small menu with pictures and English translations. Oh, it was heavenly good! There were usually two or three servings on the plate, so Joan and I were able to share different types.
Steve ordered some hot sake which we sipped from little cups. It was a most wonderful meal. Anyone who visits will be taken there promptly.

(Joan did a post about this at her blog: PopcornHomestead

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