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Small Town Gossip

August 8, 2007

Psst.  Here’s a secret.  Come closer.  Closer, still.  Okay, good.   The following post is being written in a whisper.

 I have inside information that Asheville’s Sushi Mafia, The Chen Family, recently parted ways with their best, nicest, and most talented sushi chef, who we will call George. 

I first met “George” at Wasabi about four years ago.  He’s a true food artist, and it got to where I would only go there if he was making the sushi.  Then he trained some other young guys, and he moved to Ichiban.  As did I.  That lasted a couple of years, and then we no longer saw George at Ichiban.  The friendly management answered no questions about this abrupt yet gaping hole in their staff. 

A year later our Sushi Friends dragged us all the way down to Brevard to dine at Sora, a new place in a strip mall I’d never heard of.  How happy was I to enter this oasis of metropolitan flair and find who standing behind the sushi bar, but George!!!  Six months pass.

A couple of weeks ago, Sushi Friends dragged us to Hendersonville for a taste of a brand-new sushi joint down there, Umi.  I walked in the door and was promptly greeted by nearly the entire former staff of Wasabi!  What was going on here?  Had the Chins moved outward? After 20 minutes spent dogging the bartender, I got my answer:  George’s exodus from the Chen Family stronghold was not a happy one, and on his way out he mutinously and brilliantly brought with him all the staff he had previously trained to open his two new places, Sora and Umi.  Well, Ashevillians should shed a tear at this news because I am here to tell you that Wasabi, Ichiban, Zen, Sushi-Thai, and Green Tea don’t hold a candle to either Umi or Sora. 

Sashimi appetizers served in martini glasses make me happy.  As does the chunky, substantial spicy tuna tower (or maybe it’s called avalanche, although it might be called passion mountain or something like that). Update:  Tower of Passion.  Anyhow, the freshest fish west of Greensboro and East of the Mississippi can be found right under our noses, or at least about thirty minutes away from our noses.  Unless you are (never thought I’d say this) lucky enough to live in Hendersonville or Brevard, you’re in for a little mountain trek to seek out the beacon of raw fish that is either one of these two cafes.   

Just thought you might want to know.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2007 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the info, I missed George and I’ve been turned off by sushi in this town, I’m glad there is a light at the end of that tunnel. Check out my blog http://www.gypsyqueencuisine.wordpress.com
    pass it on to your friends and let me know what you think, after all you are my inspiration

  2. queen kirstifa permalink
    August 12, 2007 8:48 pm

    This is not about sushi, but I needed to report that I ate the most marvelous, authentic Indian food of my entire life in the Atl last weekend. We went to a place called Madras (and some other word I forgot), out a little ways in this part of Atlanta with mostly strip malls and amazing ethnic restaurants. Madras had just moved into a new building in the same strip mall, where they played Bollywood flicks inside the restuarant. Besides one other table, everybody else in the place was Indian. The servers did not give a shit if we were there, and we did not give a shit about this as long as they served this incredible food. I had Malai Kofta, and my mom had something sort of like Bangain Bartha or however you spell the eggplant dish, and Dawn had Sag Paneer. We all shared, and I think I came all over the booth. Everything was so fresh and rich and authentic. We need to make a trip sometime, visit our Atl girls, brave Ikea and go eat at this wonderful place.

  3. Gypsy Queen permalink
    August 14, 2007 5:02 pm

    Atl has the best authentic ethnic foods all along Buford HWY and they’re all in strip malls, I am up for a food trip anytime, and while we’re at it we should take a big cooler and head to the international farmers market, if you’ve never been there you are in for a treat!

  4. Pixiedyke permalink
    August 16, 2007 4:44 pm

    No way! The QK and I were at Ikea at the same time.

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