Friday, January 11, 2008

A Sushi Chef of One’s Own

It’s great having your own hair stylist, someone who knows your preferences and who understands what cut and color look best with the structure of your face and the tone of your skin.

Well, I guess it’s great for some. As for Andy and me, we enjoy having a sushi chef of our own, and he’s conveniently located right in our neighborhood at our favorite place to eat in all of Los Angeles.

If there's any red snapper in the house, it always finds its way to our table,
whether we ask for it or not!

Kuru Kuru, a little sushi restaurant in a strip mall, is nothing fancy, but it's the pot at the end of our dinnertime rainbow. The portions are generous, the prices reasonable, and the fish, indisputably fresh and lovely. We often see the same people there, whom we know by face if not by name or occupation. The staff is friendly, and the lady at the door hugs us each time we come and go, holds our hands, pats our backs and speaks to us all the benevolent English she knows. On Andy's birthday, she trotted out a dish of green tea ice cream with a candle in it and sang to him.

And the sushi chef . . . ah, the sushi chef! He knows our tastes and our penchant for adventurous eating. We sit at the bar most every time we go and chat with him as he works. If he isn't terribly busy, we’ll say, "Fix us something good, John. Use your imagination." And he will, without fail, present us with a dish that is amazing in its balance of flavors and textures and elegantly simple in its presentation. He seems grateful for the opportunity to flex his creativity and quite modest about his achievements.

Once when we said, "Fix us something good, John!" this is what he came up with: an octopus and cucumber salad with a sweet and tangy sesame sauce and a delicate seaweed garnish. Yum!

We don't take this bit of good fortune for granted. Not only do we enjoy a healthy, satisfying and reasonably-priced meal, but we get the opportunity to learn more about sushi and sashimi than we could on our own, short of becoming sushi masters ourselves. Wouldn’t it be great if all education could be so pleasant, effortless and delicious?

Every sashimi plate includes only what's best the day we're there.

To this rare group of people at Kuru Kuru in Burbank, and to all who run business the way they do, we raise our nigori and say, "Kanpai!"

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