BYO wasabi etiquette
[The Chowhound Team split this bring-your-own wasabi etiquette question off from its original location on the Los Angeles board http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359867
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few of these are in the Best of Sushi category. anyone know the etiquette of bringing a grater
and root? + i use it sparingly so i don't think it should be $15. someone will catch on.
the whole point of having it or growing it is to have it with the
best of sushi meals, which, in this case, isn't at home.
I very much doubt a restaurant would appreciate it even if they don't serve fresh wasabi (it would look bad in front of the other customers.)
And if they do, how would this be any different from, say, pulling out a thermos because you only drink half a cup of coffee after dinner and don't want to pay for a full one?
While it certainly is reasonable to want to have the best wasabi you can I don't really think there is any polite way to do this.
Manners are really important in sushi restaurants.
If there is a place where you are a regular and they know you perhaps you could try calling ahead? Tell them you're experimenting with growing your own wasabi roots and you would like to try it on some truly excellent sushi.
If they grant permission the grater and the root could be discreetly passed to the sushi chef (preferably by a server)and the chef could in this way make it look to the other customers as if nothing unusual was happening.
The biggest issue with bringing your own is, after all, that your bringing your own and grating it at your seat would draw the attention of other guests.
Hope this helps.
Could you not grate a little at home and bring it with you in a small, discreet container? I think that would be OK. Grating it at a table, or even worse, at the sushi bar where all can and would see, up and down the bar, would be putting on your own show and very in-your-face to your chef.
This reminds me of a dinner many years ago at Le Cirque in New York when I observed a little old man dining alone at a two-top and he took a black truffle and a small folding knife from his pockets and discreetly shaved some truffle on his dinner. My server mentioned later that the little old man dined alone there every night with the same routine, but it was cool.
For $15???!! I assume you mean you've been to a sushi restaurant that charges you $15 for fresh wasabi? Screw 'em. Bring your own and teach the little sushi guys to price their items more reasonably. I've been to places that bring it by and ask you if you want some... for free.