Sushi was one of the slowest foods to gain acceptance on my pallet. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I even gave it a shot. While living in Washington D.C., there was a Vietnamese bar/restaurant near my office we would often venture down to for Friday’s happy hour. Their happy hour special included dirt cheap sushi that I grew to enjoy.
Fast forward four years. I still enjoy sushi but I rarely eat it. It is just not one of those foods I often have a craving for; I have to be in a certain mood to want it. However the other evening a co-worker invited me out for sushi after work. I had nothing going on that evening, so that sounded like a great spur of the moment idea. Since he was the sushi expert I told him to select the restaurant.
It was decided that we were heading downtown to Katsu-Ya of Japan. I love downtown Appleton and I am always excited to find another unique location that makes downtown Appleton even more special, and Katsu-Ya certainly did. While walking to our table I soaked in the exceptional décor. From the metal sculptures on the wall to the giant hand fans used as booth dividers, the restaurant had a great atmosphere that got me excited for my meal.
I am not going to claim I am a sushi expert and can judge who serves the best sushi in the Fox Valley with any air of authority. However I do know food, and I know fresh food, and sushi I was served at Katsu-Ya was exceptionally fresh and beautifully displayed. I ventured to sample offerings that included larger cuts of raw fish, and I loved every bite. It reminded me how much of a treat sushi can be and why any foodie should be able to appreciate it – rather than relying on oversized portions to gorge on, sushi uses petite portions to highlight the taste and texture of this exquisitely prepared cuisine. If there were a linear foodie scale, sushi would be on the opposite end of the all you can eat pizza buffet.
To round out the experience we ordered a few rounds of hot Saki. This was a no-brainer for me. I already love to sip on straight alcohol such as brandy or whiskey, so I particularly enjoyed being able to heighten my sushi experience with an authentic regional spirit. In between sips of Sapporo the hot Saki tasted warm and sweet, reminiscent of a homemade corn whiskey I may or may not have previously enjoyed.
As my friend said, “When I feel successful and I want to celebrate, sushi is a great indulgence.” I think my friend may be on to something. I often find myself trying to find the most calories for my dollar, however on occasion it is worth taking the opposite approach and spend a little money on a meal that won’t fill you up but instead will make you want to savor the skill it took to create every last bite. Sushi is truly a celebration of everything that a foodie loves about handcrafted fresh food and I wouldn’t hesitate to stop back at Katsu-Ya next time I wish to indulge.