Sushi & Service - What more could you ask for?
Winter, rain, snow, or sunshine, sushi's always on my mind. One of my favorite sushi spots in Suttgart is Origami. If I could only eat one type of cuisine for the rest of my life, it would be Japanese - and if I could only chose one type of food preparation from the Japanese kitchen, it would definitely be sushi. I love it! What's not to like? Fish - Goood! Rice - Goood! Wasabi - Gooooood! Although I'm a fan of traditional sushi, meaning I don't want teriyaki sauce or any sweet sauce drizzled on/or anywhere near my Sake, Maguro, or Hamachi nigiri. With that being said, if you know how to order at Origami, it's well worth a visit.
Origami is located in the Stuttgart Heusteigviertel area (Heusteig quarter). There are great little local bars and restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. The food is fresh and beautifully presented. Their prices are reasonable and compared to several other restaurants in Stuttgart, even though you pay a bit less at Origami, the quality is comparable to some of the most expensive sushi restaurants and sometimes much better. The decor is a mixture of modern & traditional and the atmosphere is cozy and warm. The acoustics are also notable, which is something my brother-in-law would appreciate as an architect. The Mittagsmenu (lunch menu) at Origami is super and for those who don't enjoy sushi, they also offer several wok dishes. On average, you can get away with being well fed for under €10 at lunch time. We had dinner there on our last visit and spent €64 for two people. We ordered the following:
- 2 miso soups
- 1 Gyoza
- 1 Tannenzäpfle Pils
- 1 Kristallweizen
- 1 Origami Classics for 2 people from the Sushi Combo's menu
Origami's sushi is much like a lot of sushi that we get in the west, in the sense that it's far from traditional, a hell of a lot different from what you get in Japan, and is tailored to suit western palates - this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Food always changes as it gets introduced to different cultures - that's one of the things that's so beautiful about sharing our backgrounds and building upon tradition while preserving it. However, some traditions and flavor combinations are just meant to be adhered to. At Origami, they deviate from the tradition of celebrating the pure complex-simplicity that is sushi by taking things a bit too far and dousing everything in teriyaki sauce. I know we westerners like our sweets, but save that sauce for a Yakitori grill or BBQ and cooked meats. That overly-sweet-sticky-sauce does not belong on a gorgeous, delicate piece of hamachi, albacore, or anything that remotely resembles sushi or sashimi. It's as if the next Jackson Pollack lost his way and decided to express his love of abstract impressionism on the plate instead of a canvas tucked away somewhere in the confines of his home. Teriyaki sauce is just too overpowering for the delicate flavor of raw fish. It destroys the whole sense of umami which makes sushi so amazingly delicious. It's not listed as an ingredient in many dishes, so customers have no idea it's on the plate. Make sure to tell your waiter to skip the teriyaki sauce.
- Los Angeles was one of the first places in the west to embrace & popularize sushi.
- LA is also the birthplace of the California roll, which is said to have been invented by Ichiro Manashita in 1973.
- The California roll is a major factor in why sushi became more appealing to westerners, eventually making its way to Europe, and exploding in popularity worldwide.
Terriyaki-Pollack aside, Origami hooked me as a customer and it has become one of my favorite go-to restaurants in Stuttgart. The food is fresh and the atmosphere is inviting. But above all, the thing that stands out most is the service. The staff is so friendly and accommodating. They are predominantly Vietnamese and their hospitality reminds me of what I loved about my time in South East Asia, including Vietnam: the people! If you live in Stuttgart, you know that it's a rarity to find a restaurant with good food and great service. Any restaurant with good food and great service will always get high marks in my book. I'm always happy to spend money supporting independent businesses with owners and staff who not only care about their bottom line, but care a great deal about their customers and Origami is one of those places. Consistency is also another aspect of what makes a restaurant great and from my first visit to my most recent, the food, atmosphere, and service have always been consistent. Some restaurants in Stuttgart could definitely learn a thing or two from Origami when it comes to service.
I usually go for Japanese beers like Asahi or Sapporo when I'm having sushi, but this time I chose to have a different type of Pils from the country that has had, arguably, the most significant impact on Japanese beer - Germany.
Sapporo is the oldest beer brand in Japan and was first brewed in Sapporo, Japan in 1876.
The founder and brewer of Sapporo is Seibei Nakagawa and he is a German-trained lager brewer.
So, it made perfect sense to try a German pilsner with one of my favorite types of cuisines. I chose Rothaus brewery's Tannenzäpfle pilsner. Tannenzäpfle is a very accessible beer. No, it's not as accessible as Heineken or Corona - those are beers for people who don't really like the taste of beer. ;-) The color of Tannenzäpfle is golden & straw-like. The level of carbonation is medium and it has a nice sense of roundness. The bouquet has a hoppy aroma with hints of honey, spice, and wet grass. The presence of malt can be observed in the slightly sweet finish of the beer, but the sweetness is balanced by the mild bitterness from the hops. It's a well balanced beer, however, for sushi, I definitely recommend Sapporo or a pilsner that has more citrus notes. The finish of this beer is a tiny bit too sweet and as an accompaniment to sushi, I'd prefer a more supple and mellow beer.
Fatty Tuna: A Love Poem
O Toro, my Toro!
You bring me no sorrow!
Just you on a plate,
O my taste buds can’t wait!
Atop a small mound of rice is where you beautifully sit perched,
I know that my whole life it was for you that I’ve searched!
The light dances off of your gentle pink hue like a star,
A phosphorescent culinary delight is what you are.
I embrace you with chopsticks, eyes closed, and place you on my tongue;
And your flavor love-making that proceeds keeps me feeling young.
You’re creamy and buttery in all the right places!
You ended up here with me only by God’s good graces.
Onto my tongue melts your morsels of fat,
Rich decadence coats my mouth and my inhibitions go flat.
I can’t ever get enough; I want more, I need more!
Your soft savory texture hugs my mouth and warms my core.
I swallow you wearing a smile unlike any I’ve worn before,
Your gentle ocean tuna taste lingers and leaves me wanting more
O Toro, my Toro;
You leave me and my appetite so Zen,
And I’ll be dwelling in our memories until we meet again.
All photos were taken by Lexie. Feel free to use & share the photos on this blog but please credit German Juice if you use our photos. :-)
Whether date night, afternoon lunch, or just for the hell of it, Origami is a great place to have a fantastic meal with wonderful service. If you live in Stuttgart or you're just visiting, I highly recommend dropping by for a bite. After you finish dining at Origami you can pop over to Le Petit Coq or Milliways for a cocktail or two and some laughs. If you see me in any of those places, say hi. I'll be the woman with a bottle of German juice in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Cheers.
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Tel: 0711 99717717
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