If you are looking for a good, yet unusual cuisine, going to a sushi restaurant may be what you are looking for. However, there are some notable differences between a high quality sushi restaurant and other restaurants. First, depending on the style of the restaurant, the sushi restaurant may resemble a bar more than a restaurant. Fast food quality sushi, like found in Japan, is served through a conveyor belt, where you select the type of sushi you desire as it passes over the conveyor. You are then charged for your sushi based off of the color or number on the plate you have selected. This type of sushi restaurant, however, is most commonly found in Japan.
In western cultures, a sushi restaurant is more likely to resemble a truer restaurant, where a waiter or waitress takes your order and your sushi is custom made for you. This is done because many people are not sure what they are ordering, so the waiter or waitress can explain the differences between the different types of sushi available.
The most important thing to remember when you go to a sushi restaurant is that raw fish is the star of the restaurant. While cooked dishes, such as tempura, is commonly available, the prized dishes of the sushi restaurant will typically contain raw fish. While there are efforts to include vegetarian dishes, do not be surprised if your options are limited. The more authentic the sushi restaurant, the less vegetarian choices you will have available to you.
In addition to this, the more authentic the sushi restaurant, the odder the choices may seem. In addition to the sashimi and nigiri many people are familiar with, cones of temaki may be available. These cones of nori must be eaten quickly, or the nori will absorb the moisture from the ingredients inside and become difficult to eat.
One of the most distinctive parts of going to a sushi restaurant is the inclusion of nori, or seaweed, into virtually every sushi dish. While sashimi does not include nori, almost every other sushi dish has it. Nori has a unique flavor, which is either loved or hated. If you do not like nori, sashimi and nigiri are your only realistic options to avoid it. Temaki, maki and inari all use nori as a primary ingredient.
When you are at a sushi restaurant, the tool of choice is the chopsticks. While sushi can be eaten with your fingers, it is considered polite to attempt to use your chopsticks when possible. Temaki is designed to be eaten with your fingers, as the cones are too large to be handled easily. Sushi from fast food or carry out may be eaten with your fingers, as these dishes were originally created as a finger food for those at theaters and at festivals.