In Get Jiro!, renowned chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain makes his first course in graphic novels a memorable one. The comic takes place in a near future, where Los Angeles is ruled by (surprise!) chefs, with patrons literally begging to get into the door of the top restaurants. Maybe this isn't a surprise for Bourdain's fans"”after his dishes, he is known for his sarcasm and humor"”but co-writer Joel Rose and artist Langdon Foss bring a shocking level of violence to the tale. There are knives aplenty, and there is no shortage of beheadings and blood splatter. Two factions of chefs are at war: the Internationalists, power-and-pleasure-seeking capitalists, and the Vertical Farm, militant vegetarians"”and Jiro, a quiet sushi chef, is adrift between them.
What I took away from Get Jiro!, though, is that I've been incorrectly (and possibly offensively) eating sushi for the past decade. Very early in the book, three obnoxious patrons visit Jiro's restaurant, and one of them is quickly dispatched for his lack of tableside manners. This scene was so brutal that I had to do a little investigation into what the now-headless customer did to break etiquette. Learn from my mistakes, Omni readers. Here is how to eat sushi without risk of beheading:
- Never dip the sushi into soy sauce with the rice-side facing down. Sushi rice is already seasoned and a soy soak can damage the flavor balance.
- Try picking up a piece with your fingers instead of chopsticks. This is a smart way to let the chef know that you are ready for a proper roll.
- Place the sushi onto your tongue with the fish-side down. I could kick myself! Of course the tastiest part should be the first thing that hits your tongue.
- Never, ever order a "California roll""”at least in Bourdain's future Los Angeles. Yikes.
Get Jiro! releases next month, and it's every bit as feisty as culinary mind behind it. The above breaches are all punished with tongue-in-cheek severity, but the presentation was enough to forever change my eating habits"”a sure sign of a palatable narrative.