Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Uni a Sushi Place

By (o'_'o)

Eating alone doesn't always equal good eating.

I’ve taken to walking around during my lunch break. Work has slowed down quite a bit so there’s not as much shoveling required on my part. It’s out of my hands really, so I figure I might as well enjoy the fresh air while I can. Lately, I’ve been walking around Dupont Circle and its less traveled streets. Just last week I bought a slice of strawberry cheesecake and a side of lamb biryani on the same street; a minor food miracle in my book. I had originally been looking for a store that sold vinyl records but the search wasn’t very successful. There was a second hand book store that carried a very small selection but none of the records struck a chord with me.

A couple of days ago I figured I’d give that same book store another chance but the closer I got to the store the hungrier my stomach grew and in the end, I walked right by the place. Being a second hand book store it wasn’t like they were going to get a massive shipment of new material anyway.

So I kept walking down the street before turning onto another and soon enough. I was back on the street where I’d bought a bottle of coca cola about a year ago. The store looked like it had passed hands and instead of selling sandwiches made from grocery store pre-packaged deli meats, the store was now selling pizza. It was inevitable - businesses that don’t do well can’t afford to buy quality ingredients, and soon enough they can’t even afford to buy any ingredients.

I couldn’t see into the second story windows from the street so on the basis of their neon sign and storefront, I made the decision to eat at Uni a Sushi Place. Sushi didn’t seem like a bad choice. I was in the mood for something light, but didn’t particularly want a salad. Eating a salad is one of those things that requires more commitment than I can muster up most days. I walked up the stairs and as soon as I opened the door, a waiter seemed to spring to life from his seat at the bar. He quickly jumped up and greeted me.

I don’t know what your natural response is when you walk into an empty restaurant, do you turn around and walk out thinking that the place can’t be good? Do you stay?

It’s hit or miss for me, but this time I decided to stay. I took my seat by the window and started to look over the menu. The omakase looked appealing, $45 for food and accompanying sake for each dish. Not a bad deal if the food is good, but this being my first time at the restaurant, I didn’t want to risk the chance of being the recipient of a horrible stomach ache. You never know what you’ll get in an empty restaurant. It’s more of a psychological thing, the more people there are, the more comfortable you are in turn. In a full restaurant you know that if you order something and get sick from it, chances are that somebody else out there feels your pain, even if you only imagine that’s the case. The same can’t be said of an empty restaurant - get sick and you know you’re the only one.

I ordered some chicken balls and a maki mix then followed that up with some tried banana ice cream tempura for dessert. The food was forgettable - the same as if someone were to ask you what you had for lunch 3 weeks ago on a Tuesday.  Your mind would probably draw a blank, and that’s how the meal went. Maybe it’s true, some company makes for a better meal. At the very least, it makes for an accomplice should you be in for a bad meal and get sick.

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