I love sushi. This hasn’t always been the truth, picture a 6 year old spitting out her food, but as I have gotten older and seen the error in my ways I have come to truly appreciate sushi.
Knowing this, my dad took me to his favorite sushi place in São Paulo, Nagayama. Specifically we went to one of the Nagayama locations on Rua Bandeira Paulista. From previous dinners, my dad knew that the restaurant would fill up fast, so we showed up only minutes after the restaurant opened like the true americans we are.
Showing up early definitely had its perks because we were able to sit in the corner of the sushi bar with a view of both the chefs and the restaurant guests.
We were handed a menu, but instead we turned to the sushi chef and said,
“Make us whatever you want”.
And man…. he sure did deliver.
First we started with salmon belly sashimi. Thinly sliced salmon with sea salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. It was such a great way to start the meal.
Oh hey…can’t forget my saki caipirinha 🙂
At this point the dishes become somewhat of a blur, not because my caipirinha was too strong, but because:
1.) Every time a new dish appeared I was so excited to try it that I didn’t fully listen to Okino. It was like asking a kid to pay attention to what you are saying after you just put a bowl full of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (or any other kid favorite) in front of him/her. Not realistic.
2.) When I did remember to focus, the loud atmosphere and language barrier made it hard to understand exactly what Okino was saying.
Therefore, I would most definitely butcher the description of these dishes if I even remotely tried to describe all the components and ingredients. But I can describe the overall experience, and it was truly one of a kind. So unique that leaving the restaurant I told my dad,
“I need to look up more adjectives to describe this dinner”
Delicious, delightful, distinctive, exquisite, luscious, heavenly, enticing…..
get the picture?
Aside from eating the mouthwatering sushi, watching Okino work was equally satisfying. You could tell how happy he was to be given creative freedom, the chance to truly use his talents. By giving him authority over our meal, not only did we eat delicious sushi but we also ate things we would never have thought to order. As everyone else was ordering the normal sashimi and sushi rolls that they get every time, we were on a culinary adventure.
For example, have you ever had seared foie gras on sushi? No? well I have! and it is all because of Okino 🙂
So, if you are in São Paulo, make your way to Nagayama Café, sit at the bar, preferably in the corner, and ask for Okino. Don’t order off the menu, but tell him to make you whatever he wants. Not only will you make his day, but you will be rewarded with one of the best meals of your life.
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette
Featured Image from Nagayama website