Me (eveanhei) wrote in secret_cities,

The Finest Cuts

On the waterfront of Lake Union, down among some warehouses, is a tiny sushi place. It has no tables, just a coatroom and a small bar, and only three people can sit in the place at a time. Everyone comes in alone—it would not occur to you to invite company.

You watch the chef and assistant as they work, and eat whatever they serve you. None of the staff seems to speak English, but their intentions are somehow very clearly communicated with smiles and gestures. You feel they understand you perfectly; you may even feel compelled to talk to them throughout your meal, though you will never receive a word in response. If you make pleasantries in Japanese, you’ve figured wrong, and will become the recipient of such a blank, befuddled expression that you quickly decide that their silence is part of the restaurant's ambiance and you might get them in trouble if you keep talking.

The sushi is delicious. You have never tasted such flavorful fish, and never will anywhere else. The ingredients are fresh and inevitably compliment each other perfectly. For the excellent quality, the price is stunningly low, but not so much so that you can attribute it to anything other than their doubtless small overhead. You feel healthier after every meal there, younger, smarter, and more vibrant.

The moment when you pass back through the door is the only one when you will hear any of the staff speak: and then it is just one, quick word, in a language you do not know. If you are at the bar when someone else is leaving, you will not hear their word: only the word that is meant for you. It is accompanied by a feeling of electric shock.

It is not an electric shock. The staff is neither American nor Japanese, nor any combination of nationalities you have ever heard of, and they are not really paid in money.

If you have never been to this place, you should stay away. If you have, then there is no reason not to go back... but do not go as often as you want to, or as often as they seem to want you to. The price of a meal is one you are unlikely even to notice, but the price of many can become very dear.

If you love even one person in your life, do not become a regular.
Tags: food, seattle, username:eveanhei
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