It took me only 35 years to make my first roll of sushi. I took a class. A sushi class at Sushi House.
I have been wanting to do something like that for a while. Even though, among my mix of ethnicities, Japanese is one of them, I never learned to make sushi when I was growing up in Hawaii.
In fact, I didn’t particularly like it until I went off to college in Reno, Nev., where almost every sushi joint had an all-you-can-eat lunch special for around $12.
Subsequent visits home meant lots of eating, but no learning. It was time, I felt, when I found out about the sushi class at Sushi House on Facebook.
I was excited, because the Laureles restaurant is one of my favorite places in the city to eat sushi.
By the next day, I made a reservation to take the class. It costs 90,000 pesos ($37) per person, and you receive two rolls — one of which you make yourself — the sushi kit, and, as the restaurant staff says, great memories.
One of the sushi chefs will start by teaching you how they prepare the rice — the type of rice you should use, how much water to use to prepare it, how much sugar and vinegar to mix in afterward so it’s ready to become a sushi roll.
How much exactly? Take the sushi class at Sushi House and find out.
Then you get to make your way to the station by all the raw seafood displayed in a glass case, where you make your rolls.
Luis, the owner, showed me how to place the rice on the nori, or dried seaweed, and how much to add. After that we added what would go in the roll, so he had to teach me how to cut the fish, avocado and anything else you would put in there.
He was very detailed, and those little things make a huge difference.
What are those details, you wonder? Take the sushi class at Sushi House and find out.
It was a process for me. Actually, I’ll save the euphemisms. I was terrible at it. But I had fun.
At one point, I almost laughed to myself, wondering how my friend Pedro would do. We once went to one of those all-you-can-eat places in Reno, and he had yet to learn to use chopsticks. His sushi kept falling apart before he could eat it so he finally asked for a fork.
The sushi chef was not discreet.
“FORK!!” he yelled to one of the waiters.
Everyone looked at us, and I nearly fell out of my high-top chair, laughing.
I’m sure Luis wanted to do the same at some point, considering how pathetic I was, but he was very patient and helpful.
This was important when we finally got to rolling the sushi, when I was more clumsy than ever. I had to continue to shape it, to make it look the way it should, because I didn’t have a natural feel for it, still don’t.
Thanks to Luis, we made it look right, and I had a great meal afterward, a meal a little bigger than normal because I asked that he teach me how to make nigiri and the geishas, or thin slices of salmon stuffed with avocado and cream cheese.
That made me think about how impressive it is that these sushi chefs can make a roll so quickly. I suppose repetition has a lot to do with it, but you have to be patient enough to learn it in the first place.
I take pride in being a good cook but I think sushi will always be on the same food list as pizza and several others: food I love, food I know how to prepare, but food I’d rather eat in a restaurant to save myself the time and ensure I get the quality I want.
Just don’t let that discourage you. I’m sure you can be a better sushi chef than me.
Take the sushi class at Sushi House and find out.
My class was provided compliments of Sushi House.