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Drunk on Sushi

The last round.
The last round.

A food review? Not quite. I'm not one for food reviews only because I have an exceptionally limited palate. (When I was little, French fries were my favorite food. No joke.) But, this entry of my weekly foray into the underbelly of Albuquerque is a celebratory one. Because I've found it, people. A little nest of heaven sidled near a car dealership on San Mateo. Yes, I'm sure you've heard of it. Sushi Gen.

A friend of mine went to this place and urged me to try it. Her exact words, “Unlimited specialty rolls for $20, and they're actually delicious. You can't beat that.” She was absolutely right, but I have to warn you about one thing. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT order more than you can consume. For every piece of sushi you don't eat, you have to pay for the entire roll. In other words, if your consumption proves too taxing to even think of downing that last piece of California roll idly sitting on your plate, then you have to pay for an entire California roll. It could be a bummer, but if you're like me, that's a challenge to bring your A-game.

As I said last week, I'm incredibly competitive, so when that plate hit the table with 7+ rolls to split between two people, I cracked my fingers, stretched my neck and back and got to work. About halfway through the meal, I needed a breather. My dining buddy wasn't as keen on marathon eating as I was, so she had to take several moments to recuperate, drinking Diet Coke and talking to distract herself from how full she was. Like a little league coach, I mentored her, saying, “Just keep breathing, keep imagining the finish line. There will not be a piece of sushi left on this plate, you understand?” She nodded her head in agreement.

Toward the final round of sushi madness, there were only three pieces left. One piece of the crunch roll (which has eel, avocado, cream cheese and more) and two pieces of the rainbow roll (which has I-don't-remember). Looking as if she was going to faint, my friend looks at me and says, “I'll make a deal with you.” She takes a moment to sip her refilled Diet Coke. “If you eat those rainbow roll pieces, I'll eat that last crunch roll.” So, basically, she was giving me a two-for-one special. It was pay for two rolls, or down two pieces for the win.

Needless to say, I ate the sushi, went home, fell on my couch and didn't move for about 12 hours. If you mathematically document the amount of sushi it takes to place one in a post-meal coma, you probably wouldn't have a formula to match the amount of expanding rice that was laying siege in my stomach. It was downright gluttony, but if given the choice, I'd do it all over again, and oops, I kind of did. I went back this past Wednesday with three people instead of one, and let's just say it was a nice lunch, and no one needed a gurney.

Until next week … Oh, and feel free to send me more suggestions of things to try, places to go, or trouble to get into. I'm game if you are.

V.21 No.33 | 8/16/2012
Surprising ingredients ...
Eric Williams ericwphoto.com

Dish Jockey

Vegan Sushi?

Loving Vegan

Like the increasingly popular vegan versions of Thai food that are popping up around town, sushi is starting to catch the Tofurky Syndrome. This is what I call the attempt to make animal-product-like food out of animal-product-free ingredients—Tofurky being, essentially, tofu in the shape, color, and arguably flavor and texture of turkey. In the Thai restaurants that go vegan, this translates into a colorful assortment of protein pretenders that you can’t help but be impressed by, even if you think it’s a bit silly.

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V.20 No.47 | 11/24/2011
Allure
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Side Dishing

Booze, huevos, pizza and miso

Allure

Mina takes a bite out of Allure, Matteo’s, Pizzeria Luca and Umami Sushi and Asian.

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V.20 No.43 | 10/27/2011
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Taste of the Town

So many dishes, so little me

I usually take pictures when I dine out. Some wind up in this column to illustrate a piece or are posted on FB to share with friends. But I’m missing photos of some amazing meals—meals where I can’t be bothered to take a snapshot before diving in. At that moment, my appetite takes over, and the food writer has to wait.

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V.20 No.31 | 8/4/2011
Holy Cow owner Chris Medina
Mina Yamashita

Mina's Dish

Side Dishing

Albuquerque is busting at the seams with new eating spots. I salivate whenever I see a chain-link fence with a wind-whipped banner shouting, “Opening Soon!” But on the hunt for recently opened eateries, I also found an established treasure or two.

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V.20 No.15 | 4/14/2011
Nigiri
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com

Restaurant Review

Japanese Kitchen

Hidden treasures await

Japanese Kitchen is doing something right. The well-established restaurant has barley a glimpse of street view—and from Americas Parkway, at that. Buried in a nondescript business cluster across Louisiana from ABQ Uptown, Japanese Kitchen is spread between two kitty-cornered buildings that are separated by a shaded plaza. Despite their near-invisibility, Japanese Kitchen’s sushi bar and steakhouse get quite busy—even rowdy at times, especially in the teppan corner.

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V.20 No.10 | 3/10/2011
Chinese dumplings
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com

Restaurant Review

AmerAsia & Sumo Sushi

You say Confucius, I say Zen

Sometimes it freaks me out when Chinese restaurants serve sushi. Japanese food is light and neat, leaving nothing to chance. Prepared with short, meticulous strokes, sushi is the epitome of this culinary ethos. Meanwhile, Chinese food is created with broad, heavy, greasy strokes, unafraid of the chaos of a stir-fry. The two foods don’t belong together, and it often seems like they only end up on menus that are cynically aimed at ignorant Americans who think all Asian food is the same.

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