How Not To Eat Sushi In Montreal
A cautionary tale.
Montreal is filled with all-you-can eat sushi places, and, on paper, they seem like a great idea. What could be bad about being able to consume shitloads of fish and rice without financial limitations, right?
It’s an even more tempting prospect when the financial limitations are even less imposing, which was what drew me to Komiko last night. Two months ago, I came across a Groupon promising all-you-can eat sushi for two people at the restaurant for $30, and I couldn’t resist the deal. How could I possibly say no to unlimited sushi at that price?
I couldn’t, and I enlisted my buddy Ryan to help me tackle the infinite seafood supply. We booked a reservation, eagerly anticipating our chance to inhale as much sushi as we wanted for under $20 a person.
Everything seemed alright when we arrived at the restaurant. The tables were filled with customers happily consuming sushi at reasonable paces, and we couldn’t wait to count ourselves among the satisfied patrons. Unfortunately, that was not to be our fate, as we soon found out. In fact, we doomed ourselves to the opposite fate; a predicament from which we couldn’t escape as soon as we began writing on our menu to place our order.
Before I tell you more about the horrific torture we brought upon ourselves, I should explain how the system at Komiko works. In an effort to limit waste and gluttony, the restaurant charges customers $1 for every piece of food that goes uneaten: go ahead and order those edamame beans, they imply, but you better finish each and every one if you don’t want your $30 deal to suddenly not be such a bargain.
Despite the foreboding financial threat promised by the penalty, Ryan jumped into the ordering process with a maniacal, indiscriminating glee. I, being the less experienced of the two of us in the realm of all-you-can-eat sushi, was content to follow his lead, failing to see what could be bad about having tons of fish in front of you. “I read on Yelp that the portions are small,” he explained to me. His justification seemed sensible enough, and I passively sat in my chair while he zealously scribbled away on the menu.
His zealotry couldn’t be stopped by our waiter’s valiant attempt to intervene on our behalf. He briefly glanced at the menu we’d filled out, and promptly turned to me with a wide-eyed gaze. “Do you realize you’ve ordered twice the amount we normally recommend?” he asked me.
I looked to Ryan for guidance, hoping that his years of all-you-can-eat experience had provided him with the decision-making abilities necessary to not fuck the situation up royally. “We understand,” he told the waiter confidently. “They always say that to trick you into ordering less,” he said to me as soon our server had left.
Ryan still seemed trustworthy when the first round of food arrived, but I had no idea how deeply my confidence in him would be shaken by the end of the evening. As we happily slurped away at the udon noodles and miso soup that we’d ordered as entrees, all appeared to be copacetic for the time being.
Our blissful ignorance was shattered the minute the fish arrived. Before we could polish off the entrees, we were promptly greeted with a giant platter piled with more sushi than I’d ever seen arranged on a single plate. “Your order is here,” the waiter said, deviously refusing to acknowledge whether he intended the statement as a factual observation or a cruel taunt. Either way, it was officially us against the sushi, and there was no way we were going to let it win. Being the good cheapskates that we were, there wasn’t a shot in hell that we’d shell out cash for food we couldn’t eat. Our mission had begun.
It was an enjoyable one, at least at first. The crunch of the shrimp tempura rolls contrasted nicely with the mushiness of the rice. The raw fish was as fresh as we could’ve expected at the low price of $30 for as much as we could fucking handle. The specialty rolls had unique and clever combinations of various types of seafood, vegetables, and fruit. It appeared that we’d be able to end up like the happy customers we’d witnessed around us.
Our blissful ignorance was shattered as we got further and further through the platter. It wasn’t long before the fish went from being an enjoyable treat to becoming a painful chore. Our marveling over the idiosyncrasy of the various rolls soon turned into a desire to get them into our stomachs as quickly as possible, to the point where it didn’t matter which roll was which: they were all the enemy, and we had to do what we could to take them down.
To our amazement, we made it through the array of fish, although we were far from happy about it: our stomachs ached with the pain that only an absurd amount of sushi can cause. I looked sadly into Ryan’s eyes, and he met me with an equally resigned glance. “Fuck you,” I said meekly.
We stewed over our pain as we anticipated the waiter’s arrival, assuming that he’d come with the bill. We were wrong. “You still have another thirty pieces coming,” he informed us, this time clearly intending his words to be derisive. I repeated the vulgar phrase I’d previously aimed at Ryan, doing my best to imbue the words with as much venom as I could muster in my compromised state.
Not content to merely make us suffer through the amount of food we’d soon be forced to consume, the waiter took what felt like an inordinately amount of time to bring out our final round of punishment. I couldn’t be sure if the delay was real or if my suffering had slowed time down to a vicious crawl, since the weakness the sushi had reduced me to kept me from having the wherewithal to be aware of my surroundings, but it certainly felt like we were being tortured.
Finally, the food arrived, and we attacked it with the sort of rage that could only come from two broke young men determined not to part with any more money than they had to. We decided that putting an end to our torture as quickly as possible would be the optimal approach to showing the sushi who was boss, and we sought to shove it in our mouths as quickly as we could. Before last night, I didn’t know that I could fit three pieces of sushi in my mouth at the same time. Now I do.
After a seemingly endless period of excruciating pain, our mission had finally come to an end: the plate was fish-free. We may have gotten through the sushi, but it’d be wreaking havoc on us for an unknown period of time—it was determined to get revenge for our gluttony, and this time, we had to bow to its powers.
We paid the bill and left the restaurant. We were unsure of how we’d get ourselves home, given the agony we were in, but we did know that we had no intention of ever repeating our mistakes. Ryan leaned in to give me a hug and apologize for the suffering he’d brought upon us. “Fuck you,” I repeated once more.
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