February 16, 2006

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She sells sushi by the seashore
Tasty, nutritious and in a variety of flavors — the new world of sushi
By Susan Reilly  news@hippopress.com

Glamorous and sexy, high in protein and picture-perfect in its simplicity, sushi continues to climb in popularity, yet there are those who are still shy about trying it.

Sushi is a broad term to describe raw fish rolled with rice, often wrapped in nori, or dried seaweed. Sashimi is raw fish sans rice. The fish used is not the same filets that are displayed on chipped ice at the supermarket. When you eat sushi, you get the freshest fish. No fish smells or slimy feel here.

Sound simple? No. Sushi chefs are highly skilled at their craft. Watch a sushi chef in action, wielding his knife to make perfect bites of heaven. Part chef, part architect and certainly an artist, the sushi chef is a rare breed. And seemingly in high demand.

For the most part, sushi menus are very similar to each other, but not like anything else you’ve seen. But do not be intimidated.

The order form is typically a half-sheet checklist. All the information you need, such as how many pieces come with each order, will be on the slip.

Also, cooked sushi (an oxymoron) or American sushi is becoming the rage and most menus will indicate, with an asterisk, what is cooked.

Sushi is made to order, so each order will come with two to four pieces – the chef is not going to labor over one piece. Much of the menu will be in Japanese with English translation and will be laid out so that similar items are grouped together.

Beginners should opt for combination plates, to sample various items. Combination plates are available at Dynamite Sushi, Jay House, YouYou and San Francisco Kitchen.

At Dynamite Sushi in Hudson, combination plates of sushi, sashimi or maki ($14.99-$39.99 with most under $20) are served with miso or hot & sour soup. Favorites are the maki Love Dish A (vegetarian), B (cooked) and C (raw). For $14.99, you get 16 to 18 pieces of sushi. No wonder it’s called Love.

Jay House, tucked into the Crossroads Mall in Londonderry, offers combination plates ($11.95-$34.95) that are served with soup and salad. A great deal is the #40 sashimi deluxe ($18.95), which is 19 pieces.

YouYou in Nashua loves American sushi and probably has the most extensive menu of it. On Mondays and Tuesdays the kitchen tests new roll ideas by offering them as specials. Combination plates here are called party platters and a sushi sampler for one ($9.95) includes five pieces of sushi and California roll.

Designer rolls include salmon pop ($10.50 for 8 pieces) – seared salmon with cucumber, crunchy tempura and a spicy mayo sauce – and the YouYou Roll ($5.75), which is barbecued yellowtail with seared scallop and cucumber.

At San Francisco Kitchen, sushi combos ($13.95-$29.95) provide lots of food at great prices. Try the sushi regular ($13.95), which is eight pieces of Nigini and a tuna roll, or, if you have a big appetitie, the sushi/sashimi combo deluxe ($24.95), which is eight pieces of nigini, 12 pieces of sashimi and a bowl or rice.

Finally, 1000 Crane in Manchester offers a sushi demo every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. For $18 you can saddle up to the sushi bar, learn all you need to know, and taste maki and nigiri.

Comments? Thoughts? Discuss this article and more at hippoflea.com  

Sushi 101: Do's and Don'ts
• Do eat with fingers or chopsticks. Do not use a fork and a knife.
• Do put entire roll in your mouth. Do not bite in half and return other half to your plate or take it apart and eat in pieces.
• Do use soy sauce or wasabi if you would like by applying it directly to fish after tasting. Do not soak rice in soy sauce or mix wasabi and soy sauce together in bowl.
• Do eat the pickled ginger, as a palate cleanser. Do not use as an additive for the roll.
• Do not get scared when you enter a sushi bar and it seems everyone is yelling “irasshaimase” at you; it is a welcoming gesture.
• Do try new things and fill out the order slip neatly. Do not be afraid to ask your server or the sushi chef what menu items are.
• Do rest the ends of your chopsticks (the end that goes near your mouth) on the little ceramic holder. To signal that you are finished, rest them across your soy sauce bowl horizontally to the table. Do not put them directly on the table.
• Do use the thicker, opposite ends of the chopsticks when removing pieces of sushi from a shared plate. Do not pierce and stab rolls with chopsticks.
• And finally, do pay your bill, but never hand the sushi chef money if you are sitting at the sushi bar.

Go fish
Sushi is served at:
• 1000 Crane (1000 Elm St., Manchester, 634-0000)
• Chen Yang Li (124 South River Road, Bedford, 641-6922; 337 Amherst St., Nashua, 883-6800)
• YouYou (150 Broad St., Nashua, 882-8337)
• San Francisco Kitchen (133 Main St., Nashua, 886-8833)
• Dynamite Sushi (30 Lowell Road, Hudson, 889-0055)
• Takumi Sushi & Hibachi (197 DW Highway, Nashua, 891-1717)
• Jasmine Palace (116 West Pearl St., Nashua, 882-9168)
• Mikata Japanese Steakhouse (647 Amherst St., Nashua)
• Jay House (123 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 437-5600)

Sushi deconstructed
• Maki-nori: (dried seaweed) wrapped neatly around rice and fish or vegetables.
Uramaki: (inside out) rice is on the outside
Nigiri: a bite-size mound of rice with fish on top.
Sashimi: sliced raw fish, eaten with chopsticks.
Chirashi sushi: raw fish served over bowl of rice.
House specials or designer rolls: (American sushi) Look for California rolls (all-vegetable maki) or rolls with cooked fish. YouYou has a nice selection of designer rolls.


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