With major cause for celebration, the Husband and I did something rare: ate dinner out on a weekday. After deciding to take jobs that were more aligned with what we really want to do doing day in and day out, but for less pay, we’ve scaled back on the eating out. Dinners at home have been the name of the game, which works for me because I love to cook and hey, I have this here blog and talking about food and what it means to us and how it connects us to each other should be a broader conversation than “I went here and ordered this."
Alas, this is a post about where I ate and what I ordered. See, the thing that happens when you cook a lot is a blooming appreciation of the time and talent it takes to create good food. Sushi is certainly outside the realm of my skill set, and I have no desire to make it at home (thanks but no thanks Barnes and Noble clearance bins). Still, finding a great sushi place can be tricky, especially in cities like Boston (or god forbid, New York) where a dinner can cost over $100 a person. I have no doubt excellent, expensive sushi is worth every penny (saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi, mad respect) but that’s just not in my reality.
There’s also my personal bias against ho-hum places that stick too closely to the American palate. If most of the rolls are named for cities or states in the US why not just get BBQ? (Or combine the two…vinegar praised pork roll with pickles anyone?)
So where does a picky, occasionally cheap bitch like yours truly find her happy place? Fish Market in Allston, apparently. This tiny (19 seat) sushi bar is bright, clean, and modern- no pictures hanging on the walls, no beaded curtains, no LED-lit Target fountain, and no industrial rolls of plastic wrap in site. Just white walls, wooden slant accents, and comfy sea foam green chairs. The music was chill and the two young chefs kept easy pace, calmly and deliberately filling orders.
The ordering process is like the menu itself: inventive and precise. Dry erase marker in hand, you note the quantity you’d like next to each menu item. We get a small sampling of the exotic with one standby: tamago (sweet egg omelet) sushi, Japanese pickle sashimi, spicy salmon maki, and one of their specials: Jalapeno Twister (cucumber, avocado, and flying fish roe topped with salmon, jalapeno and a bit of jalapeno dressing). There were a dozen other delightful-sounding choices (like the “Avocado Ball," a white tuna salad inside thin layers of avocado resembling an alien egg- kinda what they’re known for), but we were heading down the street for Bon Chon afterwards and wanted to keep it light.
The portions were just the right size and the flavors extremely well balanced and very fresh- basically the essence of what you hope sushi will be. The Jalapeno Twister was an experience unto itself, not traditional by any means but brilliant none the less- although I’d recommend ordering a beer alongside to both complement and tone down the spice. The pickled ginger works too. The quality of the salmon allowed it to hold its own with the sliced fresh jalapeno, and judging by the way my mouth is watering just thinking about it that roll alone deserves the badge “Crave Worthy."
The light meal above cost us about $25 for two people, so a full dinner would be more like $50. Not bad.
Fish Market is located at 170 Brighton Avenue in Allston, MA