"It's on the house," Toyoda's sushi chef slid a plate heaped with albacore sashimi towards us. My eyes widened.
"Wow, that's a lot of fish," I murmured, chopsticks paused in mid-air already grasping a slice of maguro tuna. The tiny dish of maguro and scallop had seemed, to me, to be the perfect size for one. Now I'd been presented with an unexpectedly large gift, increasing my fish supper three-fold.
Not that I could complain; the albacore was soft and delicately flavored, fresh and cold on my tongue. But I couldn't eat it all on my own - I needed to bring Michael over to the sashimi side of sushi.
There is very little in the way of seafood that Michael will eat. But a tuna sandwich, especially one featuring albacore, is one thing that doesn't elicit a grimace, and with the discovery about a year ago that he outright loves spicy tuna rolls (which, let it be known, contain tuna in the raw), I saw an opportunity.
"Michael, you really should try a piece," I offered. "The flavor is just like albacore from the can, and it's much milder than the maguro, which is what you ate in your spicy tuna rolls."
Michael wasn't so sure, but with a little more sake, he felt ready to take the plunge. First, though, the albacore must be marinated in soy sauce and wasabi. And oshinko maki (pickled radish roll) was on hand to act as a chaser. Gingerly, he picked up the piece of tuna, practically dripping with soy sauce, pausing to examine it with a worried look before popping it into his mouth.
He chewed. I waited silently, breathless with anticipation. I still remember the putrid look he gave me when I convince him to try calamari in Greece, and I was hoping this wouldn't be a repeat. He swallowed, then turned to face me.
"You know, it wasn't bad," he mused. "If I can just get over the idea of eating raw fish."
Victory was at hand! Over the course of the evening, Michael managed to eat two more pieces, and even tried a tiny sliver of scallop, my personal favorite. Of that, he wasn't sure what to think.
"It's not fishy," he agreed, "but it's slimy and weird." He reached for another piece of albacore, and I happily polished off the rest of the scallop by myself.