Be Your Own Food Critic
An Amateur Food Critic's Sushi Adventure
I love sushi. I'm also a bit particular about sushi restaurants and can get very disappointed if I spend the time and money to go out only to find myself wishing I had chosen a different sushi restaurant. My husband (who was probably just tired of my whining) suggested we start doing reviews of all the sushi restaurants in town so we could have a list of all my favorite sushi places. The idea sounded so fun that when we got home, I hopped on Netflix and searched for a sushi documentary. I found Jiro Dreams of Sushi (and excellent watch for the sushi lover!) and got really excited about trying out and critiquing sushi restaurants.
We came up with some standards for the critiques. At each restaurant we visited, we would have to order hot tea, a soup, salmon nigiri, a simple roll, and a least one special roll. The "grade" would be determined by the atmosphere, wait staff, and the quality and taste of the tea, soup and sushi.
As soon as we started doing this, eating at sushi restaurants became a really fun event. It was even more fun when we would go to a particularly bad one. I took pictures of the food and started writing up reviews and posting them to my Facebook. My friends and family got quite a kick out of them. But most importantly, I could never not have fun eating sushi again!
Pick a Food You Absolutely Love
You can do this with any type of restaurant imaginable. If you love pizza, make it your mission to try to review every pizza place in town. Spaghetti, pancakes, burgers, chicken wings, or whatever you like most can become a delicious mission!
It's easy to document your food experiments with your phone. Take several pictures of the food you're critiquing and the restaurant itself. I used the InstaCollage App for iPhone to make a nice collage to represent the restaurant and food I was doing a review on. I would also take notes on particular things that I wanted to remember to include in my review. After dinner, I would go home and a post my photo and review to my Facebook. I now have a really nice list of sushi restaurants I've tried and I've ranked them from best to worst.
My Favorite Sushi Restaurant Example Review
Sushi Restaurant #4: Oishii
This place rocked my sushi socks! The place is very cute and the girls working there are super sweet. I got a vegetable tofu soup which was really good and a nice alternative to miso soup. You can only have so much miso soup before it becomes miso poop. They have roll called a peanut avocado roll with honey roasted peanuts which is crunchy and delightful. We also tried the Lion King roll which is by far the yummiest special roll I've ever had. Everything was fantastic! So far, Oishii is number one!
Sushi Restaurant #2: Bento Sushi Café
This place is very cool and chic inside and there are tons of different rolls. The salmon nigiri was pretty good. The Veggie Delight should have been called the "Veggie Alright" because it was just that. Way too light on the avocado. The Envy Roll had kiwi on top and salmon, tuna, and "krab" inside and was a pretty tasty and different roll. The En Fuego roll was my favorite because it was a little spicy and had shrimp tempura which gave it a nice crunch. The tea came in acceptable cups and with a teapot which is always a bonus. I wouldn't say the tea was of a genital scalding temperature but it was hot enough this time. The biggest downside to Bento was the white tables which it make it very obvious that you have a hard time getting all your fish eggs gracefully into your mouth. The white tables "make you feel like a god damn pig" according to my eloquent husband. A nice surprise was the free Veggie Roll because we had made it in before 6:30 which marks the end of sushi happy hour. The cool atmosphere is a little better than the sushi itself but overall, this a cool and decent sushi place.
One of the Bad Reviews
Sushi Restaurant #6: Philip Sushi
This one is tough. It's home to the best veggie roll so far. The caterpillar roll has cucumber, asparagus and avocado inside with MORE avocado on top. Simply wonderful. But, this place sucks. The waitress was completely uninterested and came over our table at one point just to look blankly at us and then reveal that she forgot what we ordered. The place is small and was full of loudmouths and poorly behaved children who were much too young to enjoy raw fish. The table behind us was full of guys having what was one of the most retarded conversations I've ever heard. It centered around "ninja activated guns." During the moments when those guys couldn't talk because they had shoved one too many volcano rolls in their over-sized mouths, you could hear tidbits of Taylor Swift songs. "She wears short shorts I wear T-shirts, she's cheer-" "Hey! My gun is ninja activated!" They throw cruddy bottles of shrimp sauce on the table which indicates that this place caters mainly to the lunch time office dwellers of the area. The sushi was decent but the salmon was pretty flavorless. I'd say this place is best if you just call in a caterpillar roll and get out. But, what can you expect from a place called "Philip Sushi?"
Lots of Room for Fun
To really make the self-proclaimed food critic game fun, it's important to be a little silly! Even the restaurants that had the worst service and sushi were a blast to go to because I was taking notes and snapping pictures while thinking how I was going to write my funny review on Facebook later that night. Eating should be enjoyable and this little exercise has really turned eating out into a really fun event for me.
I can't wait to get started on my next type of food when I finish rating all the sushi restaurants in town!