I Am A Squid
Bryan: Bridgid wanted to go to Souen, a seriously depressing macrobiotic restaurant with various sea vegetables and bricks of cornbread with twice the density and half the taste of a wet sponge. I promise we’ll go there at some point, but I had to go to a place that at least served beer. The lovely Michelle Markowitz was with us, and her face scrunched up at the mention of macrobiotic food too. We settled on sushi.
I suggested a restaurant I had fond memories of from my East Village college days, Shima on 2nd Avenue. I recalled giant, fresh maki rolls and spirited Japanese waitresses who on Halloween several years ago costumed themselves as fish or pieces of fish. “I am a squid,” one said matter-of-factly as she sat my friend and I that night.
I have no idea if that tradition lives on at Shima, but in the years since I’d last visited, both the waitresses and the dining room had lost a bit of their luster. Frankly, the place smelled like cat. Bridgid will back me up on this, and she is an authority, having just adopted an adorable Siamese. The patrons were mostly white (Jewish?) and elderly, as if they thought they were at the old 2nd Ave Deli and would pitch a fit the moment edamame arrived at their table instead of their beloved gribenes. The soundtrack was opera, which was unexpected and charming.
Our waitress was competent but kept pushing the hot sake, which is the nastiest thing one can drink at a Japanese restaurant. I ordered Asahi draft. Bridgid and Michelle, water. We split some rolls with the usual combinations of tuna, salmon, eel, avocado, yellowtail and roe. Michelle made the questionable decision of ordering the “Beef Volcano” which is a more scatological name than any uramaki deserves, even this one. Bridgid abstained from the “spicy scallop and jalapeno caviar atop barbecue beef roll.” I tried it and didn’t hate it, but putting beef in a piece of sushi? Let’s just say it pairs well with hot sake.
Bridgid: I wanted to get down on this place. Oh god, is that not that saying? I wanted to “be down with” this place? I’m always impressed when a Japanese restaurant serves natto (fermented soy beans) which I seem to remember ordering. I would like to never return here: there must be a better way to get some raw fish sliding into our bellies. Now that I think of it, Michelle sort of ordered the “slider” of the sushi family, right?
188 2nd Ave (12th St)