The Sushi Nazi is not known for convenience, or service, or atmosphere. He is known for gigantic portions, low prices and one particular dish that co-worker TML and I have taken to calling "crack." Once you have it, you will do anything to get it. You will think about it days in advance of your visit to buy some. You will make elaborate plans and endure many hardships. Crack is actually squid salad, which I'm sure sounds horrible to many of you, but trust me, this stuff is incredible. It's like noodles in a ginger marinade. It's worth all the hassle.
So Wednesday afternoon TML called and said, "We must have some crack on Friday." And tonight we got our fix. The Sushi Nazi -- his real name is Sam -- is located a couple blocks from my apartment. This is great for me but not so good for everyone else; they have to hunt down and pay for parking. TML and I met at the restaurant, which seats about 18 people and has all the ambience of a TasteeFreeze. Through many visits -- not to mention some embarrassing moments -- we have come to understand the rules of engagement.
1. Write your order on a little pad.
2. Place your sheet of paper on top of the counter. Use one of the quarters there to secure the paper.
3. Avoid direct eye contact and conversation with Sam.
4. Beverages are self-serve; the bottle opener is magnetized and located on the side of the cooler.
5. Be ready when your order is called. You will not be able to understand what Sam is saying, but he will yell at you repeatedly until you slowly understand that your order is ready. Slink up to counter.
6. Enjoy your big mountain of very good and cheap food. If you don't know how to use chopsticks, I don't know what to tell you. I've never seen or heard anyone ask for a fork.
7. Clean your table. Don't leave ANYTHING on the table or Sam will yell at you repeatedly until you slowly understand that he is telling you to clean your table. Slink out of restaurant.
8. Do not leave a tip. A couple signs command this. This is directly counter to what I've been told in other sushi places, where etiquette demands you tip the chef.
9. There is no bathroom. Don't even ask.
10. The more you go to Sam's, the more he recognizes and forgives you. And he gives you extra crack. Kind of a "thanks for putting up with me" gesture.
From what I've heard, Sam used to run a very popular upscale sushi restaurant. However, he discovered that he really doesn't like all the schmoozing and stress involved in running a big place. He just likes making sushi. So he found a small old storefront, stays behind the counter 12 hours a day and waits for people to come to him, write out their orders and clean their own tables. If it gets too crowded or hectic, esp. with take-out orders, he will tell customers to go away and come back later. I've actually seen him do this. People do what he says. Why? Because they must have the crack.