Sushi Etiquette: How To Not Be A Tool While Ordering At The Sushi Bar

Place your order like a raw fish aficionado

1. Order drinks and non-sushi/sashimi items (that come from the kitchen) through your server.

2. Order sushi and sashimi through your sushi chef.

3. Decide whether you want to order omakase style (the “trust me” or chef’s tasting menu) or okonomi style (à la carte).

4. Ordering omakase is usually the best way to experience that chef’s skills if you are a first-time customer. Discuss your price range upfront with the chef so he can plan the menu accordingly and there will not be any surprises.

5. If you are not able to make a decision, feel free to ask the chef what would be offered in the omakase course. If you want to do okonomi (à la carte), start with the lightest-tasting fish, or whitefish, and progress to fattier and more intense fish. The mild flavors come first so that they are not overpowered by the bolder flavors.

6. The most common sequence of ordering nigiri sushi after the tsumami/sashimi course is whitefish, red fish, hikarimono silver fish, especially if vinegar marinated, cooked or braised seafood, tamago, maki zushi (rolls).

7. However, one does not have to follow this traditional sequence. You may order as you like; there are no rules. The most important rule is you should enjoy your meal!

8. Be honest and upfront about what you are not able to eat. This will save the chef a lot of trouble and you a lot of embarrassment.

9. If you see that they have it, you may ask for freshly grated wasabi, which is usually displayed on the counter.

10. If you cannot eat wasabi, tell the chef that you would like your sushi “wasabi-nuki”—without wasabi.

11. Ask the chef for his recommendations, seasonal items, and off-menu items. ‘What do you recommend today?’ is appropriate. ‘What is fresh today?’ is not. Everything is fresh, and to question that would be an insult.

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