chisosushi.jpg
Behind the sushi bar, the cooks are rolling--snapping plastic wrap off their stock of hamachi and octopus arms, their inserts full of spicy tuna and

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Fresh Fish and The Opposite of True Love at Chiso

chisosushi.jpg
Behind the sushi bar, the cooks are rolling--snapping plastic wrap off their stock of hamachi and octopus arms, their inserts full of spicy tuna and ikura and amberjack. They're shuffling plates like card sharps working a deck, flexing their fingers and clearing orders with the machine precision of guys accustomed to their work and comfortable in it. They don't sweat. They don't rush. They barely look at what they're doing. And they work as though standing under a waterfall of sound--cool heroin jazz dripping from hidden speakers and slowly filling the room the way the customers do: a little at a time, coming and going, blending in like extra elements in the air.

At my table, I sit with my head down and my eyes closed, inhaling the warm steam off a bowl of miso soup brought to me with no spoon. I raise it to my mouth and drink the cloudy broth--swallowing a thousand years of careful history in one go. In one form or another, miso soup has been around for as long as there has been cuisine in Japan. It is a bedrock dish, a standardized preparation honed over centuries that nonetheless manages to be different in every dining room that serves it.

At Chiso, the ingredients are dashi, miso paste, spongy lumps of tofu and small cubes of potato because, apparently, it is still winter in the heart of whoever made the soup today. It is my first course, and I use it the way it is intended: as a kind of meditation--clearing my head, cleansing my palate, putting me in the proper state of mind for the ballet of courses to come...

No, that's not true at all. Really, I'm using it as a shield to cover the smile I can't quite swallow. I might be pretending to be totally into my soup, wallowing in its salty goodness and using it to align my chi or whatever, but to tell the truth, I'm just trying not to laugh as I watch the complete crash-and-burn first date going on across the room from me.

Sushi, sashimi, yakitori and ippin-style Japanese bar snacks? All awesome and, under normal circumstances, all the entertainment a big, hungry boy like me ever needs.

But having good sushi, sashimi and Japanese tapas while getting to watch a blind date fall apart on the other side of the room? That's like dinner and a show all in one, and that's what I got while eating my way through the menu at Chiso in Fremont in preparation for this week's review.

It was fun. It was a little sad. It was completely delicious. And you can read all about it tomorrow, either right here at seattleweekly.com or on the stands, wherever fine newspaper are given away free.

 
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