Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Eat Here: Miyako

   Miyako Sushi Bar opened in 1994 when I was in kindergarten and my family has been dining there ever since.  It is the first restaurant I have any definitive memories of.  I remember when it was a tiny, linear, blue-white, ill-lit suite in a a strip mall.  In the last five years, Miyako has expanded into the space next to it and has upgraded the decor to a swanky, true sushi bar with trendy lighting and amazing Asian minimalist inspired paintings that line the walls (which are for sale!)  The best thing about this restaurant is that quality (concerning food and service) has remained their number one priority.

   Each meal starts with hot, earthy miso soup and a fresh salad with home made ginger carrot dressing.  For an appetizer, the gyoza are always delicious:  tender pork dumplings that are pan fried, then steamed and served with a salty, spicy dipping sauce.  Although, to be honest, you really can't go wrong with whatever you order (and I have eaten just about everything on the menu.)  The tempura is light, crispy, and incredibly flavorful, never greasy or soggy.  The noodle soups are also jam-packed with flavor: mushrooms, diakon, fish cake, egg, udon or soba... you name it.  And everything on the menu (including sushi!) is very reasonably priced.

(eel nigiri, Philadelphia roll (crab, cream cheese), dynamite roll (spicy tuna), cucumber roll)

   And of course, there is the sushi.  Nothing will ever have that light, lingering, scent of ammonia that can turn your stomach.  This is some of the freshest fish I have ever eaten.  It is tender, moist, melt-in-your mouth fish nirvana.  All of the rolls, nigiri and sashimi are perfectly prepared.  My dad loves the mackerel.  My mom adores the yellowtail.  My husband can devour a plate of the eel.  What can I not get enough of?  The cucumber roll.  It sounds ridiculous, but I think there is a true art to the simplicity of it.  The cucumber is crisp and never seedy and the rice... Miyako makes the best, most amazingly balanced sushi rice I have tasted.  It sticks together in just the right way without being gummy or overcooked.

(sashimi: salmon, tuna, yellowtail; shrimp lover's roll)
    The specialty rolls are better than any other sushi place I've been to.  Last night we had the shrimp lover's roll:  cucumber and shrimp tempura wrapped in shrimp and avocado topped with a light sauce and roe.  My other two favorite specialty rolls are the dragon roll and the husband and wife roll.  
   Miyako is perfect for any occasion:  business lunch, date night, family dinner, or hanging out with friends.  The prices are resonable, beer and wine are served, and the food is absolutely extrodinary!
4932 Thoroughbred Ln.--Brentwood, TN 37027

Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Beginning

   I recently moved back to the Nashville, TN area from eastern North Carolina.  My husband is a Marine; I moved to the Camp Lejune/Jacksonville area after graduating college last December.  There were few--actually, no job opportunities in the area for a microbiologist.  So for the seven months I was there, I did almost nothing except cook.  

   It is the closest thing to heaven I have ever experienced. 

   Now that I am back in Tennessee and the search for a real job has begun, I am wary of every listing I find.  Am I qualified?  What are the benefits?  How am I supposed to gain industry experience when no one will hire me because I don't have any experience?  (This, I believe, is ultimate the Catch-22 of my generation.)  Mostly I think:  how will I cope with standing in a lab, peering into a microscope, and constantly trying to keep up with the latest scientific finds for the next 40 years?  The truth is, I'm not sure that is what I want to do.  At this moment in my life, all I want to do is cook.

   This irony of this situation is that I almost went to culinary school.  I talked extensively with reps from Johnson & Wales, the International Academy of Culinary Arts, and The Culinary Institute of America.  An application for the CIA was completed and ready to mail.  I stood in front of the mailbox for a long time, staring at the envelope in my hand.  A million ideas swirling in my head.  Finally, I turned around, walked inside, and promptly threw the application away.  Some nights I lay awake wondering if that was the biggest mistake I will ever make in my life.

   In order to right things with myself, I have started this blog.  It is a way to hold myself personally responsible for something related to food other than putting dinner on the table.  A mish-mash of recipes, reviews, and thoughts on food that will serve this overwhelming desire to simply immerse myself in a food driven world.