Dating Etiquette: Sushi 101by Chiara Atik on September 27, 2011
A Japanese Restaurant makes a really excellent date spot: the cuisine is light and extremely flavorful, and the atmosphere often invites sharing plates and trying different dishes (aka perfect date fodder). But before you head to your local Sushi restaurant, it’s important to know the basic rules of sushi etiquette, to avoid any faux pas on your date.
Here’s some basic Sushi Restaurant etiquette, as put forth by The Daily Muse’s Diane Gottsman.
Sushi Restaurants usually serve two main types of dishes: sushi (which are the rolls with fish, rice, and seaweed) or sashimi (basically raw fish). If you don’t eat fish, the going can get a little tough at a sushi restaurant, but you can usually find teriyaki chicken on the menu, or pork gyozas (dumplings).
On Soy Sauce: Sushi usually comes with little plates of soy sauce, which is meant to enhance the fish. Consequently, when you dip your roll into soy sauce, aim to make the fish, and not the rice, hit the sauce. An extra tip from The Daily Muse:
“Go light. Overindulging in the soy sauce is akin to pouring ketchup on an expertly prepared steak.”
That Green Sauce Stuff: It’s called Wasabi, and it’s way spicier than you might think. A first date might not be the best time try a huge glob of it for the first time.
Those Thin Pink Slivers: Ginger is served along with sushi to act as a palate cleanser. Eat it between bites of different dishes.
If you go to a Sushi Restaurant on a date, you’ll probably want to have Sake, the traditional Japanese rice wine. According to The Daily Muse:
“Traditional sake custom dictates that you should always pour sake for another. When pouring sake for friends, an overflowing cup of sake is traditionally a sign of an overflowing friendship.”
An interesting tidbit, and a sweet move for your date, wrapped into one!
Where To Sit: A table is definitely more private, so if you’re looking for things to get seriously romantic, or planning on having a serious talk about your relationship (over sushi?), avoid the bar. That having been said, the novelty of sitting at a bar while plates of food go by on a conveyer belt never really wears off.
Utensils: Eating with chopsticks is a skill that will seriously impress any date, so probably one worth learning. However, if your chopstick/food coordination still needs work, it’s probably best to just ask for a fork rather than to risk a mess.
Use utensils for sushi/sashimi, but go ahead and use your hands for edamame.
If you share different plates of food with your date, the Daily Muse suggests using the opposite end of your chopsticks (the ends that don’t go in your mouth) to transfer food onto your plate.