Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 02 Apr 2008

About a month and a half ago I met someone at a sushi gathering at Drunken Fish. “Yeah, this is pretty good,” she said, “but I still enjoy Coach Sushi better.”

Coach Sushi{.broken_link}? Um, OK. Their website and online menu isn’t anything to write home about (ask my folks; I didn’t write them about it) but I guess it’s worth a shot.

Another sushi outing was arranged. Unfortunately at the last minute the person who originally suggested this place wasn’t able to make it (drat that real life interfering in well-laid plans!) but my friend and I still followed through and gathered for sushi at Coach{.broken_link} tonight.

More after the jump…

The menu was considerable with options for everyone. The food was very competent and usually highly tasty. But what really got me was the atmosphere of the place. Sure, it looked like your standard neighborhood sushi joint but it felt like home. The staff was attentive and friendly to the customers but even more impressive they were attentive and friendly (even playful) with each other. Everyone working at that place was enjoying the heck out of themselves and that feeling spilled out to fill the otherwise ordinary dining room.

There was one gentleman in particular who seemed to be the driving force behind the merriment. Is there a Japanese version of Bacchus? If there wasn’t before then there certainly is now since he served us at Coach. This elderly gentleman was lively and impish, wielding his sake bottle as another might a sharp witticism.

Oh, I should say a word about the sake here at Coach. Do yourself a favor and order the $3.50 masu sake. No, really. You want to do this. It comes in the traditional cedar masu box (which adds a great flavor to the wine) and a small bowl of sea salt. You put a small pinch of salt on the corner of the box and then drink from that corner. When it’s your first drink from the box you don’t pick it up. Instead, since the masu is filled as far as the surface tension will allow, you lean over and do a face plant on the box to drink it down enough to pick it up without spilling. The combination of sake and salt is one that shouldn’t be missed. The flow of wine carries the pinch of the large-grained salt into your mouth where it usually collects along the edges of your tongue. After most of the sake has gone down your throat much of the salt still remains in the periphery and it adds a fabulous dimension to the entire experience.

So, OK, you have this masu of sake. And you have this impish Japanese gentleman wandering around the restaurant. The two of these? A scary combination. Little did you realize when you ordered that little box but it warps space. Yes, that’s right, it’s a bottomless masu. The nice Japanese Bacchus keeps walking around making sure that everyone’s masu stays perilously full. Turn your head for a moment to talk to your friend and when you look back the box will have magically refilled with what turns out to be fairly decent sake (and getting better by the sip).

Once I saw Bacchus notice, from across the restaurant, that my masu was no longer at 105% capacity. Right at that moment someone pushed a chair back from a table, blocking his path to my masu. He literally danced in place until the chair moved out of his way. Seeing him coming (and it being the end of our meal) I placed my hand over my masu. We shared a chuckle and he moved away to serve the table behind me. Since he was gone I removed my hand from the top of the cedar box and he SWOOPED, yes, SWOOPED down to refill it, laughing gleefully the entire time. He must have been lying in wait. The scamp.

We paid our bill and left quietly…but not unnoticed. Our Bacchus came rushing out the door after us to shake our hands and bow and wish us a good evening and until next time, yes?

Yes, Bacchus, there will be a next time. Coach Sushi{.broken_link} was good to us and my friend and I both agreed that we’d welcome any opportunity to come back.