At dinner last night my friend Avery said, “I love how this blog is like, ‘Try something new!’ Meanwhile, Kristin is trying one of the most universally liked foods.”
Let me start by addressing that.
The last time I tried sushi, I was 12. I was at Topsail Beach with a friend and her family. I remember faking a smile as I struggled through a California Roll, secretly hoping everyone at the table would turn around in unison so I could spit it out. Eventually, I just opted to do that in front of them. Needless to say, I hated it. And I haven’t had the desire to try it again since that experience… Until now.
My Mom preaches, “Your taste changes as your mature, so always try things again.” Following advice from her – and trying to stick with the theme of this blog – I decided to give sushi another shot. Many of my friends obsess over sushi the way I obsess over quesadillas; but reminiscent of my last experience with sushi, you could say this was a challenge for me.
I made plans for dinner at Shiki Sushi with friends. Shiki is an Asian and American surf-and-turf restaurant off of Highway 54 in Durham. It’s widely popular with UNC students and locals, and it’s considered by many to be the best sushi in the Triangle. It also has excellent reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon. But I’ve kept my distance for the last 3 years, staying as far away as possible from anything with raw fish in the name.
We arrived at Shiki around 7:30 p.m. on a Friday night. We had to wait about 30 minutes to be seated, which should be expected on a Friday night at any decent restaurant. There’s a bar at the front to keep you hydrated. And a server brought samples around, to remind you that your meal would be worth the wait. And it was!
The atmosphere is very trendy, and modern; with lifted booths, and a red and neutral color scheme. Our waiter was polite, & didn’t seem to be annoyed as I badgered him about what sushi to try. He actually didn’t eat sushi, and suggested I try the Hibachi chicken. That’s what I get every time I eat at an Asian restaurant, so that wasn’t going to work. But he helped me make a decision.
I ordered the Rainbow Roll, and the Crazy Roll; and ordered hot sake to drink. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to drink hot sake and sushi together, but it seemed like a good idea. Hot sake is a Japanese alcoholic drink, made from fermented rice. It’s often called “rice wine.” It tasted like a heated white wine to me. It was fine, but I’ll stick with my Skinnygirl California White for now.
SIDE NOTE: I realize I sound like an idiot to a food connoisseur. This blog is meant to be a learning experience. Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comment section below!
On to the sushi! I assumed all sushi rolls were served with raw fish, since that’s pretty much the definition of sushi. But apparently not. The crazy roll was filled with fully cooked goodness. It was an inside out roll with shrimp tempura, cucumber, spicy tuna, and drizzled with spicy mayo. All hail the spicy mayo – that shit’s great. I will definitely order this again someday.
The Rainbow Roll was good, but it was a bit more risky for a sushi virgin like myself. It took me back to my childhood, as it’s described as a “California roll with salmon, tuna, & red snapper.”
Deep breath, manage to hold it in the chopsticks (I suck at using chopsticks), andddddd go for it!
I loved Rainbow Roll, too! But after struggling with chopsticks, I switched to a fork for the rest of the meal. One thing at a time, people.
On Friday nights the sushi rolls are buy one get one free, and the hot saki is 25% off. I spent about $20 on my meal – money well spent! I’m told they also have an all-you-can-eat four course lunch for $10.50 on Fridays.
My experience at Shiki makes me excited for this blog. I feel like I’m going to learn so much, and try a lot of great things. As I wrap up my post on my first restaurant, I hope I can encourage you to try something new. Trust the suggestions of the waiter or your friends, and go for it! You never know what you might find that you love. But keep a napkin nearby, and have no shame. You’re better off trying something new and hating it, than never trying it at all.