First of all, just to clarify, sushi isn’t raw fish. In fact, all it has to include is rice; from there it can have a number of different toppings (including vegetables, cooked or uncooked meat, etc.) Sashimi is the delicacy consisting of various raw seafoods. As it turns out, this means that my first sushi experience wasn’t actually my first, as I’ve had sushi many times in Korean restaurants. It was, however, my first sashimi (raw seafood) experience, and it was quite the way to get started.
So, my buddy took me to Sushi Sennin in Manhattan, which turns out to be the fourth best sushi restaurant in the world, and the best in New York. I had many foods that were firsts for me, including kobe beef, octopus, eel, caviar (beluga), and what I believed to be wasabi.
In what turned out to be yet another bit of interesting trivia, very few people in the world have ever had wasabi. The vast majority (if not all) restaurants in both the United States and Japan serve fake wasabi to those that order it. This is even true in the very best restaurants such as the one that I was in. The only way to get real wasabi to 1) be in a very high class sushi place, and 2) ask for “fresh wasabi”. If you haven’t satisfied those two requirements you’ve likely never had wasabi at all.
Anyway, we ordered two chef specials that included around a dozen pieces of sashimi, octopus, ginger slices, a couple of sushi rolls, a kobe beef appetizer, and a bottle of excellent saki. My buddy is doing quite well and picked up the bill for right under $600. It was a great way to get try
sushi sashimi for the first time. Very cool indeed.