Sushi, or, How to Misbehave in a Restaurant

Downtown the other day at one of those long soul-sucking conferences that leaves you seeking the solace and comfort of beer. With Mister Man safely ensconced at home with the dogs, I planned afterwards to wander for a little in Yorkville, go to a bookstore, and then thought I would find a place to eat and have that beer — you know, Lucullus dines with Lucullus, with books. But then came the flood, and I ended up walking blocks down Yonge Street in an rainstorm that would stagger a duck.

Finally, wet, tired, hungry and very thirsty I came across a Japanese restaurant* at Yonge and Alexander. I ducked in, wet and bedraggled, and even before I got my coat off ordered a Sapporo.

“In a can?” asked the waiter.

Yes, fine, whatever, I said. Just bring me a beer and a menu while I take off my skin and hang it up to dry.

I didn’t realize a can of Sapporo comes in 675 mL sizes. Which is a lot of beer. But I shrugged. I ordered the spicy maki special, and drank down the beer rather too quickly, and then ordered another.

Foolish me.

Did I mention the compulsory chopsticks? But this isn’t uncommon in Toronto.** I am by no means proficient in the art of eating with chopsticks, but I can manage sufficiently to handle noodles and sushi.

But the second beer was a really bad choice. I could barely hold the chopsticks by the time the maki came, and things went all pear-shaped afterwards. I ended up spiking the maki rolls, trying to pin the pickled ginger on top. Eating maki using the spear-it method struck me as being absurdly funny, so I giggled all through the meal. And dropped my book on the floor three times. You can imagine what the staff saw: ragged, soaked to the skin, laughing, drunk, and eating like a pig.

I am definite the staff surreptitiously took a photo of me, which they have by now posted by the till, with the instructions (no doubt in elegant Kanji script), “If you see this idiot, call the police.”

But the food was really good.

And I won’t tell you about the subway ride home.


*I really want to go back to this restaurant, so posting a link is my way of making a karma-offering for bad behaviour.

** I’m sure they had a fork or two in a back room somewhere, but asking for one virtually certifies you as the Unhipster of the Day. And who wants to be drunk and unhip?


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  1. #1 by maha on Friday 13 November 2009 - 1844

    I totally lack the dexterity to eat with chopsticks for a prolonged period of time – throw in some EtOH and it basically becomes a tale of cross-cultural offenses! Having said that the mental image created by your post is enough to keep me going for the rest of my shifts :D

    And here’s another restaurant tale that might make you feel a little better – my friend and I went to a nice Italian restaurant where we ordered some bruschetta for an appetizer and then got our own entrees. The food was really good and it was on the massive portion side. However, we ate it all because that was our one and only meal for the day (post shift eating habits are awful. I know). When we were finished, the waiter comes up to us and says, “wow you girls can sure pack it away”. He kissed a $15 tip goodbye with that one sentence.

  2. #2 by paedsnurse on Monday 16 November 2009 - 1003

    Kokyo is one of my favourite sushi places in to go in downtown Toronto. Their sashimi is sublime!

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