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Sushi Whore and the Respectable Lesbians! - Elf M. Sternberg
Sushi Whore and the Respectable Lesbians!
Omaha and I have now twice been to Mashiko's, better known as SushiWhore.com, the official restaurant of Hajime Sato, one of Seattle's premier Japanese chefs.

SushiWhore is in West Seattle, so it's clientele includes a lot of Alki Beach and Upper Peninsula types, so naturally the place is chock full of lesbian couples going on their tenth year, as well as adorably cute butch/femme types out on their first date. I mean, seriously, what is it about West Seattle that it's just crawling with the lesbian couples? Omaha and I counted at least five couples in the short walk we had while waiting for our reservation to come around.

SushiWhore is along the strip in West Seattle Junction, near Husky Deli, where I recently angsted about ogling those who may not ogle back, and across the street from Elliot Bay Brewery, where the SeaFair pirates hang out. It's a tiny little place, barely three tables wide, without much of the usual Japanese restaurant kitsch.

The chopstick wrapper informs you that the sticks are made out of a plastic derived from wheat by-products, and are "completely compostable, but not edible, so please don't try." I gnawed on one anyway, and Omaha said, "You had to try, didn't you?"

We ordered the "starter" meal for two. There are four of those, in increasing price and, apparently, sophistication.

This one started with a "snack" of cush yams in a savory soy and sesame sauce boiled down until just thick, with toothpicks for eating. After that, a salad of seaweed, julienned cabbage and cucumber, and diced kiwi, again with a savory vinagrette that was just subtle enough not to interfere with the amazing texture.

We then got a plate of sushi & sashimi, which was wonderful, although they noted that "native wasabi was extra," and I didn't have the heart to pony up for more. C'mon, we're mostly broke these days.

Before I go on, I should point out that one of the huge draws of SushiWhore is that they have sustainability as one of their big selling points. They abide by the Monterey Aquarium guide to sustainability, and therefore don't carry unagi and a great many other products for which provenance cannot be determined. They have books along the shelves that explain in excrutiating detail the state of world (circa 2009) with respect to determining the provenance of various fish species. You'd think that choice would be limiting: they view it as a challenge, and as one of the highest-end sushi restaurants in the city, I think they hit a high mark.

The waitress had to point out that many of the fish in the sashimi may have been unfamiliar to me, including one that may be "gamy," but in fact they were all delightfully different in texture, and the tastes were only subtly different from the commercially over-fished varieties one might find at Blue C or SushiLand. You paid more, but your liberal guilt also paid for the notion that maybe, just maybe, your kids might be able to enjoy this pleasure too someday.

Then we received clams in butter & miso broth. The richness was overwhelming, even if the actual protein volume was low. I was overwhelmed, at any rate, and had to fight mightily to control myself and ensure that Omaha received her fair portion.

Then we got the final course: grilled whitefish on a bed of mixed greens. This was wonderful, nicely dried out, and the greens a neat mix of bitters and sweet-pickled beets, cucumbers, and ginger that made a melange worth consuming. You know, normally the "bed" on which your meal arrives is meant to be discarded, but not in this case.

For dessert, we were treated to a creme brulee' blended with a bitter green tea. Of all the meal, that was the least interesting. I ate all of mine, because the creme was rich but not very sweet, which I liked, but the tea left a bitter aftertaste that wasn't to my liking.

Our meal was ruined by a loudmouthed guy in the next table over, who I swear was full of "you language" about his female partner across from him, about how she never remembered anything, or never accepted this about him or that about him, and he was VERY LOUD about the whole thing, and obnoxious about it to boot. I wanted to go up and slap him a few times. Eventually he left, and we were grateful for the quiet.

SushiWhore makes its reputation on being "all sustainable, all recyclable, all whatever," but the food is really excellent. I recommend it heartily.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
mouser From: mouser Date: November 20th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would have nibbled on the chopsticks too.
alicephilippa From: alicephilippa Date: November 20th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
And now I want some decent sushi. The nearest decent sushi is a good hour away. :S
phred1973 From: phred1973 Date: November 21st, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Craving Tokyo Seoul in Buffalo, or the downtown location of Sakana-Ya in Syracuse... Mmmmmmm Sushi.

No Sushi in Afghanistan. If there were, I think I'd have to decline :)
3 comments or Leave a comment