(Photo by Ray Johnson)
As the older sibling in a very large family of Sheepshead-based Japanese sushi restaurants, Ginza Sushi at 2809 Ocean Avenue has managed to stay the course and its ability to stay in business may be due to a number of factors.
Maybe, it’s because the restaurant serves a good purpose to those who live nearby and don’t want to make their way a couple of extra blocks over to Avenue U or Sheepshead Bay Road. I know that it has happened to me quite a few times, where I’ve had the hankering for a little snack, but I was in a rush and there was that “50% off all sushi” banner luring me to come in. Had I known, though, that the restaurant racked up 32 violation points in its last inspection, I would have staved off the craving. If it’s one thing that is of utmost importance in a sushi place, it’s clean countertops and surfaces – so I do hope that this message gets through loud and clear to the food handlers.
While Ginza Sushi is not as elegant or chic as the others, with its drab interior, abandoned back room, and cramped kitchen entry, it does have a kind of familiarity that is easy to get used to. I think that it is this very thing that made Ginza feel comfortable enough to put homemade apple pie on their dessert menu. That they felt safe enough to offer apple pie without even a hint of something fusion, Asian, or sesame, meant that Ginza sushi saw a need. They must know that here in Sheepshead Bay it is a veritable ‘desert’ (as dessert is spelled on the menu display board outside of the restaurant) for after-dinner pastry, other than baklava. Plus, the usual scoop of cold Azuki ice cream does get a little tiresome, especially after individual bites of cold, raw fish.
One of my favorite things to do on a Thursday evening, is to watch Kitchen Nightmares, where famed Chef Gordon Ramsay offers, amongst other things, menu advice to desperate chefs. I couldn’t help but wonder what Chef Ramsay might have to say about the all-American pie offering and how it mixes with the fish roll-ups. He might just grab a unagisaki hocho off the prep counter and throw it into the wall with a curse word. After he says “excuse my French” and the sushi chefs bow in forgiveness, they all will walk into the kitchen to whip up a new ‘special of the day’ Japanese Fuji apple dessert. I’ll be in the next day to try it out.
Armed with recipes like Fuji Apple and Pear Pie (served warm with a spoon of red bean, not vanilla, ice cream) or Apple Crisp, the internet can make a pâtissier out of any sushi chef. Yes, we do want some comfort desserts, but homemade apple pie just makes me feel a little out of place at Ginza Sushi.