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Cheap Eats - Japanese Market Inc.

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Where: Japanese Market Inc. 1412 79th Street Cswy North Bay Village, (305) 861-0143

What you get for $15: The Deluxe Sushi combination (8 pieces Nigiri) plus a fat beer.

Sushi in this town sucks. It’s either prohibitively expensive or poorly done or some combination of the two. Fortunately for us all, there’s a little Japanese food market with a sushi bar that kicks everything else’s ass.

You’re greeted at the counter with a warm hand towel and a fine hello from the store’s confident, capable chef.

When I arrived this afternoon at three, a trio of businessmen were drunkenly finishing up their extensive meal. Empty bottles and sushi trays littered the marble as they cawed, trying to con the man out of more free fish: “wassat? Oh yea, I think we ordered that and we didn’t get it…”

In the end, though, they begged him to create a “party platter” for a gathering of five people on Friday. He asked them to call him in the morning. He’d think about it.

$10.95 gets you a platter of fresh, tender fish –delicately presented with deft droplets of ponzu, chili oil and green onions. For those who can’t take heat, make your weakness known at the outset, lest you blow out your sinuses.

Get to know the man under the paper hat as you nibble down on the simple, subtle flavors. The self-taught master doesn’t pre-package sushi, “that’s not what it’s about,” he says.

Next time you come plunk down the money for some steamed monkfish liver –Japanese Foie Gras, he calls it. Japanese shipments of mackerel and needle fish come in sometime on Thursdays, so Fridays and Saturdays are mobbed.

Whadda ya gonna do? It’s the only good game in town.

Final Verdict: If you like sushi (that is, something other than Krab, cucumber and tempura) then this is your only recourse. Get your ass a seat, ASAP. -- Calvin Godfrey

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