Crossing the Sticky Floors In Pursuit of Joy

Crossing the Sticky Floors In Pursuit of Joy

Life is sweet.  Once again, I was rewarded for ignoring the grim, prison-cell interior, terrible choices in photography and seeming disregard for health safety laws at Suehiro, the Heiwadai Katsu joint I wrote about a few weeks back.

My wife and I found ourselves in the rare position of both being free for lunch and suggestions were tossed about – Thai? Gyoza? Udon? Tempura? Japanese cafe? Nothing seemed to stick, until I remembered a look of slight bitterness that came over my wife’s face when I told her about the katsu sando I had enjoyed a few weeks before.  The dirty katsu place?  Yes!  We were off.

My wife is not quite the enthusiast of the disreputable and suspect that I am.  I warned her before going in that it was gross and the floors were sticky, but she soldiered on.  Even so, I watched her peer into Suehiro’s kitchen.  Oh. My. God. They have all the food-prep on the floor.  They don’t care about the health department at all!  No they do not! But, I reminded her, they do an enormous amount of take-out and bento box business and if people got sick, then they would not have a business at all. She relented and ordered the katsu sando (deep-fried pork cutlet sandwich).  From eating there previously, I learned that the worse the photograph of a dish is, the better it tastes; so, I got the Fried whitefish lunch special (rice, miso soup, pickles, cabbage and stewed yam and carrot) whose photo looked like a out-of-focus hospital tray.  Total cost for the both of us $11.

As we waited, we listened in as orders came fast and furious over the phone (30 fried chicken bento box, 40 Katsu Sando, etc. ) and a steady stream of office workers, construction workers, housewives and cab drivers arrived for pick up. The numbers were staggering.  A good percentage of Heiwadai apparently orders all their lunches from Surehiro.  That volume has a serious payoff – they really, really, really know what they are doing.  My fried fish arrived, the crust a delicate lattice-work of golden-hued crunchiness.  It was ethereal, as light as air and completely grease-free; the flesh flaky and moist.  I ate every last bite, every stray crumb.  It was the ideal fried fish — no room for improvement, absolute perfection.  It was the fried fish other fried fish hope to be.  I barely noticed my wife who was swallowing the last mouthfuls of her Katsu Sando.

As we walked out, our sneakers making a slight “tsotching” sound as they pulled away from the sticky floor, my wife whispered…”You were right.”

When it comes to suspect restaurants, I often am.  In life…ehhh…not so much so.  Then again, I did choose who I married.  It was the smartest thing I ever did as it is very rare to find someone as refined, as smart and as delicate as she is who would be willing to doggedly cross those sticky floors with me, as she always does, in the pursuit of shared happiness.

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