Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Diva Does Minnesota

Minnesotans eat good sushi. The Diva has proof.

You wouldn’t think that the humble metropolis of Minneapolis would be a place one would find hip, trendy Japanese cuisine; after all, this north-midwestern city evokes wintry images of icy slush and idyllic small-town charm, and it’s certainly not known for the big-city culture normally associated with ethnic restaurants.

But along with fresh breathable air and lightly trafficked roads, the City of Lakes unexpectedly offers some refreshing epicurean delights, even if leaving your car presents a challenge with the lack of parking lots in this labyrinth of brick buildings and one-way streets.

Take Origami for example. This uber-cool Japanese eatery in Downtown Minneapolis features a multiethnic chef brigade serving items such as the “New York, New York” Roll, a dish that appears ordinary but which actually uses apples in place of cucumber. Crunchy tempura flakes crust the outer layer while a spicy crab mix and slices of apple sit inside, with eel sauce to accompany it all. (I have seen apples used in sushi rolls only three other times in my decade-long sushi odyssey, twice in Hollywood and once in San Francisco. It is not a shocker, merely a nice treat stumbled upon once in a great while at restaurants with boldly experimental sushi makers).

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