Ordering at a Sushi Bar

Are you as big a fan of sushi as I am? I hope so! I thought maybe I would share some tips and suggestions for you to try the next time you go out. I can’t help you with the pronunciations here—there are too many possibilities to even attempt to guess what you may need help with—but I can give you some pointers so you can enjoy your meal a little more.

If it’s available, sit at the sushi bar. First of all, it is cool watching them make your food. There is an art to making sushi that can really be appreciated when it is being prepared right in front of you. I always find it fascinating to see. Second, you get to peruse the menu up close and personal. If there’s anything really appealing or incredibly fresh, you’ll be able to spot it right away so you can order it.

Sitting there also brings me to my next point: ask questions. If you aren’t sitting at the sushi bar, ask your server questions. Find out if there are specials, or if something is popular or noteworthy. Be honest with them about the tastes and textures you like, then ask for recommendations. Use the staff’s experience and knowledge to direct you toward menu items you’ll like, or to help you avoid a costly pile of fish that only has a bite taken out of it when you think you are cool but it turns out you don’t actually like the taste of urchin.

This seems counterintuitive, but don’t order everything at once. Order a few things and then go back to the point above. Talk to your server. Let them know if there was something you really liked about what you’ve already ordered and they’ll be able to point out other things for you to try or to avoid. They want you to have a good experience, and being honest about your preferences will ensure you get the food you want to eat. This is another great way to keep your costs down. You won’t overorder and then not eat everything, and the stuff you do order will have a better chance to be more to your liking.

Another thing that people often make a mistake with is the sauces. Don’t overdo it on the wasabi or the soy sauce. Most places provide wasabi and ginger as a palate cleanser, not as something you should be dunking your sashimi or nigiri into. And the sushi chef has probably already put the appropriate amount of soy sauce on your order, so you don’t really need to add more. It may seem like a simple preference issue but you may inadvertently insult the chef.

Something people aren’t often aware of is that there is a progression. Order the sashimi, then the sushi. Sushi is considered like an entrée. And if you’re like me and you love miso soup, order it last. That’s the traditional way to do it!

That’s all I’ve got for now. I think I am going to go out and get some sushi for myself!