This week in the Globe, Devra First writes about why it is so difficult to find high quality sushi in Boston. Turns out there are a few reasons. According to Merry White, a professor of anthropology at Boston University who specializes in food and Japan, "'we don’t have a significant Japanese business population...The first wave of sushi [in the US] went to places where there were high-flying businessmen. We got the second wave, which is cheerful and cheap sushi.’’" This could change in coming years though, First notes, thanks to the new Japan Airlines’ nonstop service between Tokyo and Boston.
What many Americans may not know, is that the Japanese don't actually eat sushi that often. Says White, "it’s a high-end food in Japan, and people who know the differences between good sushi and not-so-great sushi will not go and get supermarket sushi the way we do... Japanese people see it as a real treat." For folks wanting to go along with this philosophy, Boston does offer some sushi worth noting. At O Ya, Tim Cushman's sushi restaurant located in the leather district, customers shell out for an elaborate dining experience and the highest quality fish.
Another reason for the lackluster sushi? Many of Boston's Japanese restaurants are not run by Japanese folks. They are run by people from China and Korea and "these entrepreneurs are sometimes less beholden to sushi tradition." But this is not necessarily a bad thing. Yoshiyuki Kawamura, owner of Sakanaya fish market in Allston, credits these Chinese and Korean restaurateurs with sushi's popularity. Kawamura adds "'Sushi is part of Japanese culture, and I want to expand Japanese culture for the people.'"
· Connoisseurs find sushi in Boston is often lacking [BG]
[Photo: O Ya/StarChefs]