Friday, December 25, 2015

Our Feast of the Seven Fishes

Happy Christmas to all who celebrate! Our holiday has been filled with lots of good food and some low-key family time, which has been nice. Last night for Christmas Eve, we went to my parents' favorite sushi place on Staten Island, Genki Sushi, for dinner. Sushi has been our tradition on Christmas Eve for years now, as a way to honor the Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes (there were a lot of Italians in my neighborhood growing up). Sushi is a pretty easy way to eat at least 7 different fish or seafood types, so we've been doing that for as long as I can remember.

We started our Christmas Eve dinner with this special appetizer that had eel and avocado wrapped in some cooked whitefish (not sure what type since it was off-menu). This was a really tasty way to start the meal and we were already up to 2 fish: eel and whatever that white fish was.

One of our favorite appetizers there is the dragon ball, which is spicy kani and shrimp wrapped with avocado and topped with a special sauce and some roe. We don't think it's real crab, but that sea legs imitation crab stuff (which I guess is mostly pollock usually). Either way, 2 appetizers in and we were already up to 4 different types of seafood: eel, whitefish, kani, and shrimp.

Next came the tuna pizza, a crispy tortilla (like a flatbread) topped with tuna, crab (the same stuff that's in the dragon balls), and avocado (spread). Pretty good, but we like the dragon balls better. The tuna pizza brought us up to 5 fishes.

Every so often my parents like to order the pineapple fried rice which comes served in a pineapple with a sauce that tastes a little like a pineapple mayo, kind of sweet, kind of tangy, kind of creamy. The fried rice mixes in shrimp, crab, chicken, and scallop, so that brought us up to 6 with the scallops before the sushi rolls even arrived.

We ordered a whole bunch of rolls, both "regular" and "special" rolls, and I'm pretty sure we covered at least 7 fishes with the rolls alone. 

The first roll on the plate was the dragon roll - eel, masago, avocado, wrapped with avocado and topped with roe. This is a classic roll that you can find at most sushi places, but this is a good version. We already counted eel so we were still at 6.

These 2 were the spicy scallop roll and the rainbow roll, a California roll wrapped with avocado, tuna, salmon, and white fish. The inside of a California roll is usually that same imitation crab stuff, and we've already counted scallops, tuna, and white fish, but salmon hit the magic number of 7 fishes. That said, I always thought the "white fish" here was yellowtail instead of white fish like the menu said, which if it were would take us to 8. Not a big deal though, because there would be more yellowtail to come later.

I didn't remember ever trying this roll before, but this one was the Halloween roll. I'm not entirely sure what's in it since it's one of the newer special rolls that's not listed on their takeout menu, but it seemed like spicy tuna and avocado on the inside, with white tuna and peppered tuna on the outside. The peppery flavor of the tuna made this one really stand out, and with the white tuna, our fish total came up at 8.

Three rolls in this picture - salmon/avocado, yellowtail/scallion, and spider roll (soft shell crab). The yellowtail took us to 9, and the soft shell crab (different from the kani stuff in the other dishes) took us to 10. These were all pretty standard rolls from the "regular" section.

One of the special rolls we really like at Genki is the Ichiban roll - spicy tuna and crunch on the inside, with lobster tempura, avocado, and special sauce on the outside. The lobster took us to 11!

The current seasonal special roll was called the new year's roll and consisted of tuna, salmon, and avocado on the inside, and a lobster salad on the outside. This one was really good, and while containing rich lobster, it was fresh and bright and light, exactly what one would think of for a good start to the new year. Since there weren't any new fishes here, we ended Christmas Eve night at 11. Success!

We actually went back again to Genki tonight for Christmas dinner, getting a couple of the same things like the fried rice, but mostly ordering all new things. Some of the biggest hits from tonight's dinner were the spicy girl roll (spicy salmon crunch and avocado inside, with tuna, white tuna, scallions, and spicy sauce on the outside), the volcano salad (spicy tuna, kani, shrimp, tako, and seaweed salad, wrapped in avocado and special sauce), and the yellowtail guacamole (crisps topped with avocado, tomato, and seared yellowtail).

We've never had a bad dish at Genki, even when they're experimenting with new dishes and combinations. It's definitely the sushi place we visit most often since my parents love to go there, the staff is friendly and attentive, and the food tastes good. Is it some sort of high end traditional omakase? No. But the sushi rolls and appetizers are tasty, the quality has always been good, and we love seeing what new specials they're going to come up with next!

Genki Sushi is located at 150 Greaves Lane in Staten Island.

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