Two friends, Tony Chow Lin On and Iwer George, introduced me to sushi a few years ago. I was not impressed. It took the insistence of another friend, Neemah Persad-Celestine, and Filipino expert of Japanese cuisine Joel del Castillo, to convince me that sushi must be added to my growing list of favoured exotic foods.
Persad-Celestine got me to visit the newly-opened sushi bar at the Hyatt Regency and I didn't regret it–in fact I relished it. Originally misled into thinking that sushi was merely seaweed wrapped around overcooked rice and raw fish, I was pleasantly enlightened to the fact that the delicacy is, in fact, made with vinegar rice, which may or may not include raw fish, as well as a variety of sea food, including crab, shrimp or lobster, or cooked fish, like tuna, salmon, octopus, white fish, flying fish or eel. Experimenting with local ingredients, del Castillo also includes avocado in his repertoire. Sushi is actually a healthy way of cooking, in that a serving consists of a mere 400 calories. The average serving usually consists of eight to ten pieces; I sampled nine. For openers, I had the Philadelphia roll (salmon, cream cheese, wasabi); tako (octopus); maguro (tuna); and, ebi (shrimp).
Persad-Celestine didn't have to do much urging to get me into my second serving, consisting of spicy tuna (roasted salmon skin, spring onion, tongarashi, teriyaki sauce); dynamite roll (salmon skin, spring onion, tongarashi, soft shell crab, home made spicy sauce); and, grilled salmon (grilled salmon, wasabi, teriyaki sauce). For lagnaippe, I had del Castillo's Trini creation, Trinidad roll (shrimp, tuna, spring onion, tongarashi, teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo). At the end of it all, I just didn't have any more room for dessert–Sesame seed ice cream–or drinks like Sho Chiku Bai Nigori or Saketini, the latter a cocktail of Grey Goose vodka and Sho Chiku Bai Ginjo.
Now a convert, I certainly intend to return to the Hyatt for some more of del Castillo's sushi morsels. The Hyatt Sushi Bar is open Tuesday-Saturday, 5 pm�11 pm.