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April 2, 2006

Memoirs of a Sushiphile, Part II

Filed under: Fish,Japanese Food,Mr. Henry,Spirits,Sushi — Mr. Henry @ 1:59 pm

When Mr. Henry has sushi one of the first things he needs to decide is what he is having. That is, what he is having to drink with tonight’s sushi.

Nectar of the Sushi Gods

As an appropriate accompaniment to sushi, sake is an obvious choice, and as it happens there is a perfectly respectable bottle already open in Her refrigerator. For lunch, green tea is always advisable because at this point in the career of Mr. Henry’s liver even half a beer at lunchtime leaves him feeling as if someone had thrown the sea anchor overboard. Forward progress is impeded and, heaven knows, he needs to be getting along with his life goals each and every day, and this includes afternoons.

Scotch is Mr. Henry’s personal favorite with sushi and with nearly everything else, for that matter.

A healthy pour of Oban or Talisker over ice cubes made from filtered water (more genius from the engineers at Sub-Zero) provides an ideal imbibational choice – strong enough to cut through the lingering fire of powdered wasabi, yet without the sugars of wine or the starches of beer.

White rice is as close to library paste as Mr. Henry’s educated palette will accept. When the short-grained is served chewy and lightly vinegared, however, scotch efficaciously clears away any lingering bits of hamachi or maguro, leaving the mouth ready to greet the next wiggling arrival.

When you elect to switch away from wasabi-based sauce toward a bit of eel, however, you need a more powerful cleansing of the palette, a thorough and abrupt alteration, the commencement of a new chapter in the evening’s unfolding novella. Here is where your choice of drink is key, and here is where you can change your whole meal, indeed, your whole approach. You might even say that your choice of drink determines your cultural identity, your very ethnicity.

Memoirs of a Sushiphile, Part I


  1. *blink*

    Single-malt over ICE? Talisker on ICE?!?!

    I’m guessing Mr. Henry’s not a Scot?

    Comment by Talmida — April 3, 2006 @ 7:47 am

  2. I will admit I am not a lover of the whisky but can appreciate that it is a complex and interesting beverage. I am wondering though if the high alcohol content does not deaden the tastebuds somewhat? My drink of choice with sushi is an Austrian riesling or French chenin blanc.

    Congratulations on your new gig with The Manolo!

    Comment by Rick T. — April 3, 2006 @ 9:04 am

  3. Oh dear, is this going to be the kind of blog which only references terribly expensive food and drink? I am only a poor gourmand.

    Comment by Meg — April 3, 2006 @ 12:01 pm

  4. I am both delighted and appalled by this post. Delighted that, for once, I don’t have to suffer through yet more ignorant praise of sake (properly, nihonshu). Appalled because whiskey goes well with everything precisely because it kills your taste buds. Fair enough, shouchu has the same effect.

    For meg, some of the worst sushi in the States is the most expensive. Ask around for the good stuff.

    For myself, I am celebrating the cherry blossom season in Japan by drinking Traquair Scottish Ale, which I picked up here for about $0.75 per bottle because (horror of horrors) the expiration date is this week. Life in the Orient is marvelous!

    Comment by ghoti — April 4, 2006 @ 8:44 am

  5. Meg,

    Even the pour gourmand has choices. In this case, it will have to be sake over scotch. I would recommend bourbon, the affordable whiskey, but perhaps not with sushi.

    Comment by C.S. Froning — April 4, 2006 @ 8:44 am

  6. “…some of the worst sushi in the States is the most expensive. Ask around for the good stuff.”
    I have to agree with this…my fiance is from Wisconsin (we live in California) and he frequently tells me how expensive and crappy the sushi was compared to how good even the cheap stuff is here…
    Maguro, hamachi, unagi….is it lunchtime yet?!?!?!?

    Comment by JayKay — April 5, 2006 @ 9:15 am

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