Sushi Sensory Input: Sight
In a Restaurant: Preparation is very important to a good chef. Rolls will be punctuated with drizzles of sauce, nigiri displayed in harmonious pairs or fanning out across the plate; chrysanthemum piles of pickled ginger and tiny blobs of wasabi complete the miniature landscape you are about to destroy with your ravening.
Snuck into a Movie: Can't see it. Even if you do, all sushi will look washed out and alarmingly blue-gray, so looking closely is not recommended.
Sushi Sensory Input: Sound
In a Restaurant: One of the things I like best about sushi restaurants is the excellent opportunity to eavesdrop on other people. Seating is much closer together than at most other kinds of restaurants, and staring directly at your own plate while slowly sipping beer is considered the mark of the connoisseur, not someone who is trying too hard not to look like he or she is listening to the awkward date unfolding at the next table.
Snuck into a Movie: Even the most tooth-challenging sushi is quiet compared to popcorn, Goobers and the incessant sluuuuuuurps of straws.
Sushi Sensory Input: Smell
In a Restaurant: If you can smell the sushi the person next to you is eating, it's time to give up and go to Bread Co. (Ironically, exactly the opposite is true at Indian restaurants.)
Snuck into a Movie: Excellent choice for sneaking. Even the spiciest tuna roll or most redolent sea urchin can be consumed undetected by the noses around you. Sushi is the olfactory ninja of sneakable foods.
Sushi Sensory Input: Taste
In a Restaurant: Delicious.
Snuck into a Movie: Equivalently delicious.
Sushi Sensory Input: Tactile
In a Restaurant: The firm-yield-firm texture of biting through an excellent piece of fish and the pearly way rice rolls on the tongue and splits on the teeth is an essential part of the total package.
Snuck into a Movie: With the visual component of the sushi taken away and your active attention on the movie, texture becomes the primary way of understanding the food. It's like eating sushi blindfolded, but while still catching up on what Jim Jarmusch is up to and without the weird Story of O-esque connotations. Chopsticks are usable in the dark, but less preferable to grabbing the sushi with your fingers, which is strangely, viscerally, satisfying.
Sushi Sensory Input: Temperature
In a Restaurant: Most important for complicated rolls or playful presentations that are only possible at restaurants. Recent trends in St. Louis sushi have a lot of things being set on fire. As a sushi fan, I find it distracting. As a lover of a great show, I find it irresistible.
Snuck into a Movie: Sushi can't melt or exactly go appetizingly cold, making it a good sneaking food. Don't wait so long the rice dries out, though. That's a waste.
Like leaves in a pond,Dara Strickland is a leading expert on sneaking food and drink into the movies. She reports on her exploits for Gut Check (from an undisclosed location) every Monday.
Vermilion layered on white.
Dinner in my coat!