Back in the day when I was just a child when life was so much simpler, my parents used to frequent Sagami, a Japanese restaurant in Collingswood, New Jersey. We went often, but I didn’t think much of it. When you’re only 10 years old, appreciating the fine cuisine of sushi wasn’t exactly something on the mind. I had more pressing matters to attend to, like going from castle to castle in search of a certain princess. We went to the Japanese restaurant well into my teen years until I left for college. It wasn’t until 13 years later did I return.
Having eaten great Japanese food on the West Coast and in Japan, I knew I was spoiled beyond recognition. How did that clueless 10 year old turn into such a sushi and sashimi snob? I’m not expecting amazing sushi, but I just wanted something decent and tasty whenever I visited my hometown, but sadly, good Japanese food is hard to come by in New Jersey.
Then one day, it dawned on me, I had to return to the place where my sushi experience started as a child.
It was like visiting an old friend, time passed, but nothing changed. The decor was the same, the smell in the air was spot on, and the lady boss who greeted me was the same, albeit much older, but the same.
My favorite Japanese dish is chirashi, which is just a variety of sliced fish over seasoned rice. It’s simple in concept, but easy to mess up. Since it was on the menu, the choice was easy to make. I’ve had some fantastic chirashi and some really crappy ones. I wondered where this was going to score on my chirashi rating scale.
Well, I can say that I was surprised. I had no idea I was actually eating such quality Japanese food while I was growing up. The chirashi certainly wasn’t the best I’ve had, but it was damn good and rates up there, especially for the Philadelphia and South Jersey area.