First, a little context about my personal relationship with sushi...
While living in Minneapolis, Minnesota less than 15 minutes from the Mall of America, I was introduced to the loveliness of sushi by one of the sisters in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Church of Christ. We were both temporary residents (me for family, her for business) and we hit it off right away. I can not recall the name of the lovely - small, intimate, wonderful - sushi joint but I went back a couple of times with this now dear friend, took my dad there when he visited and went alone many, many times. I experimented with lots of different rolls (no raw fish at this time) and thought I was a tough girl for embracing the pain of wasabi. You know what I'm talking about. It's not good wasabi if you don't need to wipe your running nose. And let's be real, it's just the Asian version of tabasco sauce, ain't it?
Anyway, over the years and after finding favorite spots in Madison, Wisconsin and on trips out of the country and on cruises and in other parts of this country, sushi restaurants have been some of my favorite places to eat.
I was so excited to visit with this friend - it had been almost a year since we'd seen one another- and the lounge was fairly dark, I forgot to snap some photos of our yummy dishes but we started with a yummy, beautiful to look at tuna spring roll. Its texture is something to adjust to and I have to remind myself that it is not cooked but the flavors were just magical. Really, it was very good. We had a glass of red wine (her a merlot and me an Australian wine with blackberry and currant) and water and ordered our rolls as we were hungry for them.
The menu at Wasabi Sake Lounge is not overwhelming - I get overwhelmed by too many choices (like the Cheesecake Factory Menu) and knew that practically every choice would be a winning one and it was.
We had the Wasabi, California Crunch, Oh-My-God (it came lit on fire!) and the Las Vegas signature (maki) rolls. There were no and I mean absolutely no cause for complaints.
The decor was fantastic - modern, clean and very night out on the town without being too over the top. Our waitress' name was "Air" - yes...like the "air we breathe". And though I digress, I must tell this truth. As soon as she spelled it out for us (of her own volition, though I was glad she did because I was almost certain she couldn't be for real), I thought to myself - MUST WRITE POST ABOUT NAMES BLACK PARENTS GIVE TO THEIR CHILDREN. Air was a fabulous addition to our wonderful experience at the Wasabi Sake Lounge and I will certainly return for celebrations, times to reconnect and quite possibly even by myself (yes, I do go to restaurants by myself with a book!).
For the record, anything tempura is going to make its way into my belly and into my top five sushi favorites. Maybe this alone would bring more black folks to a place of attempting sushi. I was the only black woman in the spot, from people working there to people eating there. Didn't mind it one bit though because my loyalty to the enjoyment of good food outweighed my need to fit in or be within the "proper stereotype". If you're reading this and are on the browner complexion spectrum, we could go together next time and increase the blackness of the 'sushi experience' for ourselves and others.
So, while it may not be common to see black folks enjoying sushi, this girl does and gets more adventurous with it each and every time that I get to go. Next time, saki!