Sansai udon at Maneki Neko in Falls Church, Virginia
Our family eats sushi the way some families eat cereal for breakfast: we don’t have to have it every day, but something feels weird if we go more than a few days without it. Back in Charleston, this meant checking out almost every sushi joint within spitting distance of our house. For whatever reason, most of those establishments tended to be run by Chinese people, which usually meant that in addition to a full slate of sushi rolls made up of crazy combinations, the menus also offered up an array of Chinese options, too. I don’t know why, but pan-Asian restaurants (you know, the kind that just generally tend to make “all” Asian food) are kind of unsettling to me. Not that there can’t be good food, but I tend to view them as an Asian food amusement park – there’s enough variety for everyone to have a good time, but at the end of the day, you feel a little overwhelmed and icky.
That’s why it was especially encouraging to learn that Maneki Neko, our neighborhood sushi joint is run by an Okinawan family. A real Japanese sushi restaurant! Our hearts swooned at the thought.