Friday, January 8, 2010

Droppin' Some Sushi Knowledge...

My recent post attracted some great responses - thanks to all of you for that... and I think this specific response (from friend and restaurant-expert Franklin Ferguson), which is particularly educational for us all in terms of the sushi/delivery issue, is well-worth posting:

Interesting philosophy and I can vouch for that. Working for SUSHISAMBA I had to ship product to Miami often, sometimes food, sometimes smallwares and equipment. For some reason, despite my method of transportation (air freight, ground, UPS express, etc) there was always an extra delay at customs or at the local dispatch. Too many calls and too many fuming conversations with someone that had no inclination to assist me in any way other than simply allowing me to vent so they could go back to their soap playing on the 10" tv screen propped atop the water cooler in the "customer service" department. After some time, I simply ordered earlier or planned later.

The ONLY upside to this is that most of the time I was shipping non-perishable items. Bento boxes, custom chopsticks from Taiwan, kitchen equipment from Ohio don't
expire on the back of a truck like fish can. When considering most seafood and it's shelf life, think of it like a brilliant bottle of pinot noir (and I use a wine anecdote as you're a wino such as myself). Pinot, a very fickle and difficult grape to grow shows the same affinity for staying fresh as it loves to bond with oxygen thereby aging the wine and loosing it's "pop". The more air, the more dense and dilapidated the wine becomes. With fish, it's the blood. The longer the fish has time to sit (while thawed), the longer the blood has to drain from the meat. That anemia is the reason for the loss of "pop" and this can happen in a single day or two (depending on the species). Tuna being the most susceptible to this as it's sectioned by large loins and set in boxes of ice where gravity goes to work.

The key is looking for the company that either has connections to Japan (where 80% of the fish that you eat for sushi comes from) as they sometimes import directly, circumventing the local, lackadaisical middleman. Some of the larger companies that can afford to do this simply don't, for if they're a national chain they'll try to make a national deal due to the tonnage of tuna they go through in a year. Those national companies still use local delivery companies as it's cost prohibitive to have their own delivery company in every city, which brings you right back to your main compliant, a loss of national consistency.

Anyhoo, good rant.

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