Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sushi B! or not to be


I finally took the time out of my usual shopping-mission lunches to stand around for half an hour (ok, I exaggerate, let’s say 10 minutes) to see what the fuss about Sushi B! was all about.
You’ve probably walked past the patient people lining one side of Woodward Street yourselves and, unless you’ve been there, wondered why they would do such a thing when there were at least three other and faster options nearby. I used to wonder the same about Midland Sushi, but their line is nothing compared to this, and I bet it’s even smaller now that Sushi B! is there for the connoisseurs.

Connoisseur I may not be, infact I am probably the worst candidate to review a sushi bar considering that I do not favour seafood, but I am discerning consumer (of both foods and valued goods). I eat sushi at least once a week - I’m currently trying and failing to remove bread from my diet, so it has been more than once a week recently, I mean, if not a sandwich/burger sandwich/wrap then what? – but you will find me most frequently at the counter at St Pierres.

Now I’m not a complete ignoramus. I am aware that St Pierres is a chain. It’s not the only sushi place I have been to, I have frequented genuine sushi bars like Shinobi and Yakitori and the place with the little train (love it!) and I have watched the sushi chefs sear and roll infront of my eyes. But if they run out of your favourite at St Pierres they will do that for you too. It’s the consistency that I love. I get the same double avocado tasty tuna every time and I am always pleased with it. Not only that, but I enjoy the quantity to quality to soy sauce ratio that SP offers.

I realise that your sushi is not supposed to be swimming in soy sauce, but when all you get is the little fish to cover at least six pieces (save the ones with Japanese mayo, which are divine in their own right), you might find yourself high and dry.

On the upside, the pieces I had were lovely. I tried to be a little adverturous, otherwise I’d be filling my tray with chicken and tuna pieces and looking like an amateur, so (as well as chicken and chicken of the sea) I also got a deepfried crumbed prawn and a “crab” piece. And for a non-seafood eater, I rather enjoyed them.

I cannot, however, rationalise the wait, the price ($8.something for six pieces) and the insufficient sauce into a positive recommendation. There are some things you just have to try to be sure that you’re not missing out on something awesome, and try I did, but for me I was left with a disappointingly short amount of time to eat my lunch and a somewhat unsatisfied feeling.

The other thing I did not enjoy, apart from the waiting itself, was the exposure of the wait. I walk past it almost every day and wondered for a long time what those poor souls were waiting for. Today, I was subject to the scrutiny of passers by. I caught a comment by one lady to her friend “…in Wellington they’re prepared to line up for anything.” Another guy (an asian guy nonetheless [no wait, this could be totally racist]) took out his PSP and took a photo (or video, who knows?) of our line. Is it that out of the ordinary? Surely Wellington or New Zealand is not the only place where this happens? Or is it that [again, blatant stereotypical racism ahead] that there are so many “legitimate” sushi bars in Japan that there is no need to line up for it. Perhaps they would line up for a sausage roll and a chip butty?

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