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