Wednesday, October 15, 2008


The other night I miraculously was able to convince my husband that dinner out needed to be sushi at a restaurant I love here in Chicago.  I say miraculously because this man is meat and potatoes all the way.  Get an innocuous piece of cheese or anything made with eggs near him and he's convinced he will die.  Little does he know how much actual cheese and eggs he has eaten over the years.  To be sure, if I am making the meal, one or the other is going to be covertly included.  Actually, the game I've played with myself over the years of feeding him these things has been fun.  Yes, I know I'm evil.  Amazingly and gratefully he is still alive!

Back to sushi.  I love it and yes, it can be a bit off-putting, all that raw fish and plastic looking tofu.  However, in my infinite wisdom, I suggested a place that had cooked entrees as well--lots of tempura and even Japanese 'chicken nuggets' so I knew that we'd be ok. 

Kamehachi is one of the first sushi restaurants here in Chicago, opening up their first place on Wells Street when no one in the mid-west even knew what sushi was.  Now that it (sushi) has mainstreamed itself into our consciousness, their restaurants are the place to be.  The decor of the location that I go to is based off a traditional Japanese tea house.  It's located below street level and as you enter you just feel as though you are passing into another world. While the space is cavernous, it feels intimate through their use of lighting and translucent shoji screens.  

Entering the space is calming enough but the dining ritual begins as the waiter brings you a hot towel to 'freshen up' with.  I LOVE this idea.  Sort of preparing oneself for a meal.  All the dishes to be used for your meal are artfully laid out according to what sauce is being served with each dish, who ordered what etc.  It is mesmerizing and calming just to watch them prepare my place. 
The show really begins for me as I watch the chefs prepare all these magnificent sushi entrees. What an art.  And a process which really takes one deeper into what they do moment to moment.  Having to focus like that in a concentrated effort.  It just leaves me feeling that mindlessness is everywhere but when I walk into this place that gets put aside for honoring the moment.  The whole dining experience really becomes much richer.  I find myself eating the food differently--almost with respect after seeing how much work and concentration went into preparing each individual sushi.  Feeling perfectly sated, I walk home realigned somehow and just feel better.  

Ritual--it needs to be a bigger part of my life.

Additional information:

Photo credit:  starrise@flicker, Kamehachi, yoshiko314@flicker 


Taylor said...

great post! you need to take me to this heaven of raw fish.

Kim said...

i will as long as you don't tell dad he's been eating eggs and cheese all this time!!

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Sushi is good Kim. But, I promise you, when you taste Greek food you'll change your mind!!!

Kim said...

Ah, Philip. I do believe I would come home 10 pounds heavier!! I LOVE Greek food. There isn't enough of it here in Chicago