In my lame, and embarrassingly meddlesome, attempt to strike up a conversation with â??big daddy,â?� or oyaji, Hayakawa, I did manage to glean this fact: Heâ??s been dicing, slicing and rolling fish for nearly 30 years. Thatâ??s about it. As I sat at the small sushi bar mulling over the gamut of icebreakers, I couldnâ??t help but notice a half-dozen framed autographs on the wall behind the bar. â??Who are the autographs of?â?� I timorously queried, at which he shot me a glance, dramatically paused with sushi knife firmly clasped in his muscled hand and said, â??Japanese golfers.â?� So heâ??s as taciturn and imposing a chap youâ??ll ever meet, but he commands respect in that quiet Beat Takeshi sort of way. And the man knows his sushi, and thatâ??s all that really matters.
The fish, it should be noted, is unquestionably fresh. Just sample the richly flavored tuna or salmon nigiri ($2.25) and youâ??ll see. Toro ($3.75), the fatty part from the belly of a bluefin tuna, just melts in your mouth, while the sea eel ($3.75) was described as â??sublimeâ?� by a friend of mine, a self-confessed sushi fiend.
And in May 2008, WackyFiasco commented: "I love this place. The decor may not be a fanfare for the eyes, but the food is like Heaven on a plate to me. Their tempura stands up to a float in their ramen noodle soup. The mackerel steaks are cooked perfectly, and no other place in town makes a better agedashi tofu. Oddly, they make an excellent potato salad accompaniment for their hamburger dinner. When I am at a really low point, this is where I run for some soothing comfort food."
After 30 years, maybe Hayakawa is ready to hang up his knife, but he will be missed.
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