I like finding culinary diamonds in the rough—quaint little places that have solid, delicious fare at good values without being the talk of the town. In this, I know that I am not unusual. What I sometimes forget is that though quaint starts the same as quality, it doesn’t always mean quality.
Take, for example, my recent discovery of Sushi Mishima off Thomas and 56th Street in Phoenix. It’s run by a lady and her husband: she does the waitressing and he does the cooking. Each meal is a series of courses: first soup, then salad, then entrée, and topped off with a fruit dessert. I’ve never spent more than $10 on a meal, including the tip. My favorite dish is the grilled albacore tuna steak though their sushi wasn’t bad either.
I tell Sandi about these expeditions and she takes it just like she does with my non-culinary expeditions: with a roll of the eye and an admonition to be careful. This time she suggested I check the food inspection reports for this Japanese dive and I thought, “Ha! I’m going to prove her wrong and show her that appearances can deceive.”
After a number of tries at getting the name right, I found the report. Sweet sassy molassy! They’ve had repeated major violations and the best score they’ve received was a 33. And I’m ingesting raw fish from these people! It also helped to explain why they were closed for a couple of weeks for a “vacation”: the county shut them down! I’m not inclined to exclamation points, but this merits them.
I guess sometimes there’s a reason they’re in the rough and I guess they’re sometimes actually cubic zirconia.