Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Just beat the line.
And there’s always a line outside Sushi Deli 2 (135 Broadway, downtown, 619-233-3072.)
OK, gal at the lecturn on the sidewalk handles a party of eight (and they won’t take groups like this until everybody’s here), but pretty soon I’m in the back room with pictures of samurai glaring down from the red wall, plus umbrellas Japanese letter-characters, Japanese liquor bottles on the wall, huge white paper lanterns, and rock music.
But the chat, the laughs, the waitresses drown that out good.
It’s not just cheery here, it’s cheap. I wanna lay down a base for the evening. In a kind of hurry, too. Nothing ambitious.
Stephanie comes up with the menu.
“Happy hour?” I bleat.
“It’s always happy hour here,” she says.
So I go to “small plates” and zoom in on “green mussel dynamite,” four green-lipped mussels “baked with spicy mayo and masago, $2.50.”
Turns out masago is the roe (eggs) of the capelin fish. A kinda smelt.
Wow. Order that. Then Stephanie recommends one of the noodle dishes. I go for the all-vegetable bowl with miso soup (I could’ve gotten rice or salad). And soba, the buckwheat noodles instead of udon, the flour noodles.
I swear. Those green mussels. They are, well, dynamite.
They taste totally addictive with that mayo, and the real pleasure is putting the shell up to your mouth and sucking the masago down your gullet. Heaven. The eggs are so small you don’t even think about it.
And my veggie soba is totally tasty, too.
I zonk some (low-salt) soy sauce in, a few splurts of Sriracha hot sauce, crack the chopsticks apart, and have at it. The veggies, especially the cabbage, broccoli, and carrot — things I never usually actually like eating plain — perk up and make it a filling meal. Along with the ever-enriching soup in the bottom.
Total bill (I had water): $8.07, after tax.
And I’m full, and still wowing at the tastes, especially those green-lipped mussels.