Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Vegetarian Sushi at Ginko

Whenever I tell people that I'm a vegetarian and I eat sushi, they immediately think I'm a "cheater" vegetarian - or a person who says they don't eat meat but "happen" to eat fish, chicken, and pretty much any other meat that's put in front of them.  But if you know me in real life, I'm not "that" kind of vegetarian.  I've made it 30 years without eating meat and I plan on keeping it that way.

This past weekend my best friend and I went out for a girls night of sorts to celebrate her birthday.  We've been friends since we awkwardly met in 6th grade.  Somehow we got paired up to sell raffle tickets for a carved pumpkin at an open house at our middle school.  She was loud and athletic, and I was quiet and nerdy.  To be honest, her outgoing nature drove me crazy until I got to know her, but somehow we managed to become fast friends and realized we had more in common than we ever could have thought.  And here we are 19 years later...

I should be a Jehovah's Witness because I like birthdays so much.  I love my birthday.  I love other peoples' birthdays.  Pretty much every other holiday isn't important to me.  (except Valentine's Day, but that's really just an extension of my birthday celebration)  So I love getting to take my friends out on a date for their birthday.  (even when they'd rather sit at home and try to turn back the clock)  My friend decided she was in the mood for sushi and wanted to hit up Tremont, so off to Ginko we went.

Let me preface this by saying I've had less than stellar experiences at the Dante family of restaurants in the past.  I love drinking at the bar, but the food I've had there has been just ok.  I'm in the minority with this opinion since everyone else i know loves it there, is what it is. 

Ginko is in the basement of Dante.  It's a little walk down a flight of stairs, poke your head through a door, and there you are!  In a brightly lit, brightly tiled, Japanese wonderland.  There's a huge horseshoe shaped bar and some booths and two tops scattered around the vey small space.  Being squeamish, I don't like to see sushi being prepared, so I snagged a two top table for us.  We were immediately brought some warm towels and our overly aggressive server wanted us to order.  Decision making isn't a strong suit for me or my best friend, so we needed a few more minutes.  I got the impression that our server didn't like this, but...

We started off with shishito peppers.  My best friend had never had them but was a good sport until she got a hot one and thought she'd burned her espohagues.  As I told her, it's rare to get a hot shishito pepper, and it's actually a sign of good luck.  But after having her insides nearly melt off, I think she felt lucky enough.  While she was trying to flag down our server to get more water, I was enjoying an orange and ginger martini.  It was good.  There's not much to dislike about those two flavors together.

Because my best friend is well, my best friend, she ordered only vegetable sushi so we could share.  We got almost one of everything from the "vegetable" section of the sushi menu.  That included everything from avocado and cucumber to asparagus to tempura vegetables.  (don't challenege me in a sushi eating contest - I will crush you)

The presentation of the sushi seemed a little odd to me.  We were brought out our food in something that looked like it could be used as a cake pan.  I'm used to fancier presentation, I guess.  (says the girl who eats grocery store sushi)  I'm also used to fresher tasting sushi, I guess.  I think vegetable sushi is like the salad of the sushi world - not that hard to make and pretty hard to mess up.  The sushi we ordered was just ok.  It was very warm, which seemed strange to me.  A couple pieces had random fish eggs on them, which also wasn't ok with me.  Maybe that clouded my experience but I really think for the price ($5-10 per roll - or more expensive than most other places around town), we really got some underwhelming food. 

Maybe if I ate meat I would have liked Ginko better?  It's gotten excellent reviews on Yelp and elsewhere.  Dunno.  I think I'll stick to Pacific East or Tree Country Bistro if I want to go out for sushi in the future.  Do you have a favorite sushi restaurant around town?

1 comment:

  1. I'm a huge fan of Pacific East favorite sushi place - although I love seeing sushi pics no matter where they are from! Thanks for posting.

    Two quick things though...
    1.)since "sushi" means "vinegared rice," you're not a cheating vegetarian at all (sashimi means raw fish).
    2.) To my knowledge, Jehovah Witnesses also reject birthdays. So you might want to reconsider that decision. :-)