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  • 10/18-10/20: Austin
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Lunch at Tenzan (Midtown East location)

For me, sushi was definitely an "acquired taste." I'm very particular about seafood, and for the most part, I avoid it unless I'm confident in the person who's preparing it. To this day, I still think I'm the only Jew who doesn't take lox on her bagel and cream cheese.

When I told Teddi that it was her turn to pick the restaurant, I was hoping that she wouldn't say "sushi." Sure enough, she mentioned that Tenzan had recently opened in her neighborhood and served, you guessed it, sushi. "It's light and healthy and just sounds good," she said. After a hefty three-hour French class, I was starving and reluctantly gave in to her restaurant choice. I did tell her it was her turn, after all.

Imagining I'd walk in to a dark 20'x20' room lined with linoleum floors and a dirty, overstocked fish tank, I found myself in the most zen-like atmosphere. Taking center stage in the restaurant was a floor to ceiling waterfall that made the most tranquil sounds. The space itself was large and finished with the latest in modern interior decor.

Since Teddi had eaten at Tenzan prior to our date, she noted that the lunch specials were the way to go. We each ordered the two-roll combo that came with miso soup or salad. I opted for the salad, a spicy tuna roll and a shrimp with mango roll. Instead of beginning my afternoon with a glass of plum wine, I ordered a cup of hot tea that was both nutty and spicy.

I was pleased to find that iceberg lettuce did not take center stage as the main component of my salad. The robust, meatier mixed greens actually enhanced the flavor of the ginger dressing. Both of the rolls were excellent and exquisitely fresh, however, the spicy tuna stole my heart. The ratio of fish to rice was precise and the temperature of both rolls was perfect; not cold, but not warm. The shrimp with mango was a lovely combination, but I felt that the bland shrimp was overpowered by the zesty ripe mango.

When the check arrived, I was shocked to find that our entire meal set us back a mere $18! For $9 each, Teddi and I had a fantastic meal, great service and left the restaurant with full bellies. So take it from me, any of you sushi-unaficionados, Tenzan will change your mind on the infamous roll forever.

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