Friday, June 6, 2008


Even fast-paced offices encounter the occasional slow period, and employees unexpectedly faced with little to do are prone to daydreaming about lunch.

Today, during a stretch of hours during which we did nothing but make coffee and friend each other on Facebook, my colleagues and I decided to change up our midday meal by ordering in from Sushishop.  Samar, who sits at the desk catty-cornered to mine, claims that theirs is the best sushi in the city.  “I ordered from there once, and I was still thinking about it three days later,” she said.

Sushishop, of which there are twelve branches in and around Paris (and which is in the process of expanding to Bordeaux, Marseille, Montpelier, Reims and Luxembourg), has a gorgeous website whose near-pornographic close-ups of lustrous slices of salmon daubed with cream cheese were enough to occupy bored underlings for a good half an hour.

Unfortunately, the site’s sleekness doesn’t extend to its online ordering feature, which flat-out refuses to work.  Picking up the phone is the better option (calls cost 15 centimes per minute, but if you’re calling from your office line, it’s on the company tab).  Service is decent:  Less than forty minutes after the phone was returned to its cradle this afternoon, a helmeted delivery man buzzed up to our office on rue Scribe and good-naturedly accepted the many euro coins of our combined contributions.

Though Sushishop’s menu includes such novelties as Tuscan spring rolls (crab, pine nuts, mesclun, and truffle mayonnaise) and sushi topped with porgy tartare, diced mango, and vanilla-scented oil, we opted for the lunch formule—eighteen pieces of maki, in various combinations, served with a salad and soup, for 12.50€.  It sounded like a deal, but the salad that arrived was a disheartening mix of white cabbage and flavorless vinegar, and no trace of miso’s complex flavor had survived in the insipid soup.

The sushi, however, had what it took to brighten our afternoon.  The salmon at the core of a roll of sticky maki dissolved slowly and gratifyingly on the tongue.  A crab-avocado California roll, coated with cheerfully orange masago roe, boasted a sturdy texture and saline tang. And, though they weren’t technically sushi, avocado-cream cheese spring rolls wrapped in translucent green rice paper had the same dense, rich mouth feel as their seaweed-wrapped cousins.

My coworkers and I were rescued from our ennui after lunch by a sudden influx of emails to be answered and tasks to be completed.  But, even if we don’t hit another slow patch on Monday, we might still be thinking about Sushishop three days from now.

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