Places: Yume Sushi

I have a brother who went 17 years without eating a green vegetable. He tried spinach at age four, claimed he had been poisoned and refused to touch it ever again. If he gets a sandwich with lettuce on it, he throws it out. Not the lettuce, but the whole sandwich. Screw those starving kids in Africa; no way is he risking cross-contamination.Three weeks ago on a government-sponsored trip to Alabama, he got bullied into trying a salad. He got two bites down and promptly vomited. Our not-so-little Shrek (yes, he is named after the popular cartoon ogre) can handle 15 not-legally-allowed-to-call-it-beef Taco Bell tacos, but iceberg will put him on his knees praying to the Porcelain God. As one might imagine, Shrek, who thought Christmas came early when he discovered discount meat stores; and Keely, who recently bought 40 pounds of apples and can’t fit any other food in her refrigerator, have trouble agreeing on a place to eat. He lists Colonel Sanders as his greatest hero and I’m a juicing, raw food-loving, card-carrying pescatarian. There isn’t much middle ground …

until I found Yume: a sushi bar I could actually see Shrek visiting.

I can picture it now: sashimi for me, a Kentucky roll for him. Yes, ladies and gents, you heard me correctly: a Kentucky roll. Tempura fried chicken, scallions, avocado and spicy mayo. Mmm, sushi heart attack. (Shrek, of course, would ask them to remove the scallions and avocado.)

For those of you who may be concerned about a sushi bar that is willing to wrap fried chicken in seaweed and rice, fear not. Real Japanese people eat at Yume. It has to be legit.

Since Shrek was not a member of my party, the Kentucky roll went untasted. My dining companion and I took a fishier route. We ordered edamame to start, followed by two rolls and sashimi. The rolls were the winner in my book. Thinking the menu would be online, I didn’t note what they were. My favorite was topped with avocado and mango. Delicious. I ate more than my fair share and almost chopstick-shanked my companion when he reached for a piece. Whoops. According to reviews I later read (some may suggest doing that before visiting a restaurant, but I like to live on the edge), the lobster roll was the way to go. Noted for next time–and there will be a next time. Edamame is edamame, and theirs did the job. The sashimi was “eh” by my personal preference. Let’s face it: I used to smoke, I pour burning hot coffee down my throat and I may have whiskey’d away my taste buds. I judge a lot on texture. I like my sashimi cold–served on a bed of ice, freshly flown in from an Alaskan fishing boat, stolen-right-out-of-the-mouth-of-an-orca cold. I want it to warm to non-frostbite temperature right as I dip it in my soy and wasabi concoction, not before. Their cold was not Keely cold. It was more room temperature.

Based on the service, if I had told them this ahead of time they would have made it happen. Drinks were promptly refilled, laughter abounded as the sushi chefs joked with the couple dining at the bar and the pleasant buzz of satisfied customers filled the air. The Japanese family (that legitimized the restaurant in my less-than-PC mind) spoke in Japanese with the staff and the other diners–a mixture of couples and small groups of friends–chatted amongst themselves.

The vibe was laid back and just as well designed for lingering as for grabbing a quick bite. Depending on the other sushi options in Sarasota, I foresee Yume becoming more of a drop-in place than a destination for me. I don’t know that I would plan an evening around going out there, but I could easily see myself with a friend on Main Street, ready for a meal and bee-lining to Yume’s beckoning booths. Plus, I’ll eventually have to bring Shrek and get his professional opinion on the Kentucky roll.

As a fun aside, Shrek’s little trip to Alabama formally quashed his ambitions to move to Alaska and rough it. Not because he fears his blubber wouldn’t sustain him–it would–but because he realized he can’t live far from civilization. By civilization, I mean fried chicken. The place he stayed in Alabama was 20 minutes away from the nearest fast food joint and it almost did him in. The prospect of having to board a plane to get Chik-fil-A sent him into cold sweats, condemning him to suburbia for the rest of his days.

Since I’m not bound to any area by fried meat requirements, I’d love to hear suggestions for other sushi places to check out. Sushi is an area where people tend to have clear cut favorites, and I’d love to hear them. Any where that serves icy cold sashimi?

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