“Repeating the same constructive behavior over and over, hoping (one day) for a positive result is difficult but virtuous. It’s the effort made by eating oatmeal every morning, brushing your teeth after every meal and daily journaling. It’s weekly therapy, consistent workouts and taking time for spirituality. It’s Rudy trying over and over to get into Notre Dame. Or Mother Theresa tirelessly serving the poor.”
– Ryan Howes, clinical psychologist, The Definition of Insanity is…
How about that, I’m right up there with Rudy and Mother Theresa. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. After all, I’ve slogged my way through the swamps of local sushi bars, downing nigiri after nigiri made of salmon and cream cheese, hoping that someone, somewhere, will rise to the challenge of producing good quality plates of raw fish and rice. And there have been successes, and glimmers of hope – Yuki, Nihonbashi, Comedor Nikkai, Maki… but mostly it’s been lackluster, mediocre, and all that salmon and cream cheese. Who decided that was to be the emblem of the local sushi world?
So, awhile back, a place called Go: sushi go, popped up in the Buenos Aires Design Center, Pueyrredón 2501, here in Recoleta, replacing some forgettable spot that was there before. I hadn’t made the long trek of a couple of blocks, figuring, more of the same. But, out wandering the other night, feeling in the mood for some sushi, and near to the shopping center, I figured, what the heck, after all, I’ve liked the other restaurants there, it’s a classy, high-end kind of place, not your average suburban mall. And so, I went, to Go. [This place closed in mid-2013.]
First off, I didn’t know that Go is a kosher sushi spot. Well, good for them. To the best of my knowledge only one of two here in town, and I haven’t been to the other. It limits the options off the bat – no shellfish, so there goes the shrimp and octopi possibilities. But, hey, the menu lists not just salmon, but white fish, and some vegetable sushi, and, amazingly, not everything is listed with cream cheese. A few creative sounding rolls. And, a beautiful outdoor spot to sit, enjoy the evening, and the lovely fountain that graces the dining area.
Well, let’s see, how does is stack up. First, they bring bread. Yes, bread, in a sushi bar. Okay, it’s Argentina, there’s always bread on table. But strangely, here, not the usual baked cotton balls, but, shards of chewy pita bread. Okay, in addition to sushi, there are some odd… extras… like babaganoush, hummus, and salmon kibbe on the menu, so a touch of the Middle East thrown in. And the bread is good. Not so much the salad that comes with it, a remarkably awful bowl filled with red cabbage, carrots, and unidentifiable other stuff drowning in a cloyingly sweet dressing.
And the sushi arrives, oh, but wait, I forgot, my waitress had returned, about 15 minutes after I ordered a selection of varied white fish, salmon, and vegetables and informed me that not only was there no white fish of any sort, but they didn’t have most of the vegetables. Count to ten, call on the spirit of Daniel Ruettiger (yes, I know, he’s not dead, but I needed some strength), and forge ahead…. They did, however, have plenty of salmon, and even cream cheese if I’d like… I went for some salmon skin nigiri, always a favorite, and two different rolls, neither of which contained the cheese. Let’s just say that salmon skin in sushi ought to be grilled, or broiled, and get a nice crispy, chewy texture. Slow cooking in some sort of fat or oil so that it’s as soft, slimy and dripping as ectoplasm is not the right approach. The Spicy roll of seared salmon had no spice whatsoever. None. And not even the lime that was supposed to accompany it – they were out. And the salmon was cooked to death, to the point of chalkiness. The Green Go roll of salmon, ginger, avocado and green onion might have been saved by the green onion, but they were out of that too. Oh, I should mention, instead of the usual shreds of daikon or carrot, crisp and fresh on the plate, these were scattered with bits of pickled red cabbage – in that same gloppy sweet and sour dressing as the salad.
The party of 20-some, 30-something girls on a night out seemed to be enjoying themselves, but then, they were just eating platters of salmon and cream cheese nigiri and drinking heavily. The young man in the yamulke who kept winking at me until his parents arrived, at which point they proceeded, at mom’s direction, to move tables, five times in as many minutes, trying to find a spot she liked, might have appreciated the kosher part, but who knows, they were still trying to settle in when I gave up on the food and left. The tab, for six pieces of sushi, two six-piece “half rolls” and a small flask of insipid sake? 102 pesos.
I won’t be back. Let’s just say, No Go: sushi no go.