Encounters in the Global Experience Economy: Matsuhisa Athens

September 24, 2010

The two blonde hostesses are Greek and well practiced in “Irasshaimase!” I am having a seat at the sushi counter. The sushi chef is Japanese by way of California.

I order an espresso martini. The chef recommends the local sea bass and also the local sea urchin—from Crete, from a special supplier which he personally selected, all natural, without any preservatives, and thus better than the one from Japan. I am asking for both the bass and the urchin as sushi, and also order an eel-and-cucumber roll.

The sushi chef tells me that his daughter just graduated from UC Berkeley. She now lives in LA. He came to Greece two years ago. Not a great time for working at a trendy Japanese restaurant right now. But he says most of the customers are locals, and business is better this year than last.

I am reading excerpts from a new book in German, “Deutschboden.” The section I am reading is about a “Super Kleinstadt,” Oberhavel in Brandenburg, where life still seems local. Where people at the Stammtisch talk about third league soccer and eat Schnitzel and Currywurst.

My main dish tonight is one of those signature “Nobu” dishes: Chilean sea bass with jalapeno sauce. We all know, from the web, that Mr. Matsuhisa grew up in South America where he learned to mix cuisines … I am wondering if this is the endangered species fish for which he got bad press online.

The waitress forgot my water order and when it finally arrives, it is the sushi-chef who comes around the counter to pour me the water. A Japanese way of apologizing, I recognize. He introduces his sous-chef. “Where is he from?”, I ask. “From a special place,” he answers, “Blue Island, Quingdao.” Thus, we converse on Quingdao beer, and Löwenbräu, and Super Dryyyyyyyy.

I am wondering how to finish the meal tonight. Earlier we had talked about how the Japanese drink a lot of coffee. I decide that blueberry and chocolate mochi ice cream may turn out to be a great complement to the espresso martini.

When I exit the restaurant and walk past the bungalows of the resort back to my room, looking up to the trees and the starry night, I feel as if I am in Bali.

BY SCHMITT

This post originally posted by SCHMITT on the MeetSCHMITT blog at: http://meetschmitt.typepad.com

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