Ploafmaster General

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Excuse me, did you say, "Raw"?

I'm a pretty freakin' picky eater. Seeweeuswy you guys. Example? I grew up in a household that ate predominantly Italian food. I grew up in a household that also made me eat whatever was put in front of me. And here I am, with utter distaste for peppers, onions, and tomatoes (okay in sauce, as long as they're not chunky).

For some reason, however, I find it pretty easy to try out new seafood. Ever since I was a youngin' in Bayville, New Jersey, I've tried out dish after dish of sea food at my old friend Matthew Stevens' house, be it blowfish, lobster, or mako shark steak. Last year on my honeymoon, I went a step further and tasted amazing ahi tuna that was barely seared, leaving the inside cool and uncooked. This, too, was delicious.

None of this could prepare me for the obvious next step...sushi. Specifically make-zushi often containing raw fish.

So I planned an occasion with my wing-man, Dave, whereupon I'd settle this food score once and for all. This past Saturday, we headed for Hana Zushi in Shockhoe Slip for dinner. Dave, being a bit experienced with sushi already, helped me choose my gastric weapons and provided moral support. We each ordered a la carte, selecting from a decent listing of rolls and nagiri. Our plan was to divide and conquer, sharing our selected rolls that we each may experience a broad range of flavors.

My verdict? I really enjoyed the experience - both the exhiliration of walking out on a culinary limb and the food itself. The most amazing point of the evening was realizing a distinct difference between the sushi and most Western food that I've yet eaten:

Whereas with Western food (or perhaps cooked food in general) you tend to experience the full taste of the food when you bite into your morsel, the sushi did not provide its full spectrum of flavors until I had chewed the piece for a moment or so. Once I had given a few rounds of molar-attack to my spicy tuna roll, for example, the full effect of the combination of ingredients spread accross my tongue like a taste epiphany.

Wholly different from anything I've yet ingested, yet intriguing and delicious, I have a feeling I'll be seeking out new sushi bars in the future.