Article by Josh Gregory with photos by Fitz
(Lead photo of Mizuno’s interior)
I hated Mizuno.
Hate is a strong word. Put simply: I hated what we ate, especially after all the hype that was put into our visit. Perhaps all the time I’ve spent in restaurants over the years has turned me into a jaded prick who likes to bring everyone else down to my level. Or maybe it’s because every time I go off on a rant about hating brunch, burning my ass working the expo window (true story), Fitz, my publisher, laughs as my blood pressure rises and then immediately pushes the question on me “Can we put that in print?” In the case of burning my ass, that one IS coming in print. .
Remember the “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner” commercial? I have a new question. Beef: WHY THE FUCK IS IT IN MY SUSHI ROLL? I can eat beef just about anywhere. If I wanted to spend thirty dollars for beef, horseradish sauce and then be recommended something fried to top it off, I can enumerate many places to fill the void that would have done it better, and in some cases, with more flair.
My trip to Mizuno started innocently enough. We took, what I believe, was a well considered recommendation from a Southern Grit Facebook follower. A cardinal sin had been committed in the exclusion of the Metal Gear Roll on our 2015 Top Ten Entrees list for Virginia Beach.
Now I know why.
Let me first say, I have the utmost respect for those, including the chef’s at Mizuno, that dedicate their lives to perfecting the art of sushi. There are few forms of cuisine that I readily classify as art, sushi, however, sits at the top of the pile.
The room at Mizuno is beautiful. The swank factor of the place absolutely matches it’s swanky address (in Le Promenade), as well as it’s swanky neighbors over at Aldo’s. So why the vitriol? Why did my blood pressure rise causing me to spit forth a spew of obscene phrases as we got into the car? Given all the talent and the work that goes into sushi and, judging by the food we ate, there was plenty present, why was it what it was?
When I think sushi, I think fish, raw and of the finest quality. We were recommended not one but TWO rolls that had not one single spec of raw seafood on them. The abomination Metal Gear roll, and the slightly less offensive yet still fried Mizuno Roll (augmented by eel and crawfish). The conclusion that I can draw here is that the public clearly demands what Fitz and I term “Gringo” sushi. Sushi for people who want nothing more than to dip something fried with rice in soy sauce and then smear it with weak imitation wasabi.
Now that’s not to say that there is not raw fish available at Mizuno. There is. We were however lead to believe, by numerous sources, as well as the chef that day that recommended the Mizuno roll, that we were getting the best the restaurant had to offer. Perhaps the question here is: as a food culture, have we pushed talented chefs, like those at Mizuno, into a warped corner where we’re no longer willing to push our bounds and in the end just want something fried? Restaurants will always be customer first, but what kind of customer are you?
Mizuno is located at 1860 Laskin Rd Ste 115b in Virginia Beach
For more on Mizuno visit them online HERE