When you go to the spookiest town in the United States (Salem, Massachusetts, with Spooky Town being a close second with its Creepy Crawlies Pet Sitting and New Skeleton Gazebo) to attend a live reading of horror stories you don’t expect nachos to just fall into your lap. Especially when the reading is at a sushi restaurant, historically a type of restaurant not well known for nachos. Sometimes though there might just be a little bit of witchcraft in the air and fate will smile upon you, as happened with Koto Grill and Sushi.
Book reading, nachos, and sushi. Three things that you wouldn’t expect to find together in the same location. Two of them, sure, who hasn’t heard a book reading while nomming down on some ‘chos or gone to a Jack-In-The-Box and had sushi and nachos at the same time, but all three at once? Never. But Salem is of course the same town where everyone in the late 1600’s probably got super tripping balls on ergot and accused a bunch of innocent ladies of being witches, ultimately leading to their murders, so anything goes!
I arrived at Koto to find that “Wyrd: A Horror Reading Event” was taking place not in some sort of back room or alcove, but instead in the main part of the dining room itself, complete with a bar and waiters and patrons running around and passing through the whole time. This may be a good setup for live music or possibly stand-up, but something like a quiet reading of psychological horror loses a little of its luster when you’ve got the bartender asking if you’d like another Fogcutter (and of course you do) or a waiter runs in front of you with a spicy tuna roll. So when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, and when life gives you a stage at a sushi restaurant, you make it a live horror reading. When life gives that same sushi restaurant corn chips though, what they make is sushi nachos.
Now by corn chips I mean those scoop chips, which might be good for spooning up salsa or making single serving nachos created by The Marrowvingians, they are not the best for regular nachos. So how do you improve upon that? Grilling the chips of course. In much the same way that a hotdog or hamburger just tastes better when cooked on the grill rather than an oven, the same goes for chips, and probably any food you can put your mind and mouth to. It’s probably some sort of cooking science magic, but if you haven’t experienced some grilled chips, treat yoself.
Since most of the ingredients you might find in an order of nachos can also be found in today’s fancier sushi rolls, these Sushi Nachos weren’t very different from your average order. Of the three sushi particular items; the raw tuna, tobiko, and spicy mayo, the mayo fits in pretty well it being spicy, the tobiko doesn’t really do a whole lot either way as tobiko is want to do, which leaves you with the make or break item: raw tuna. Of all the fish in the sea I have to say that tuna is the tastiest and is my general go to for sushi, however nachos are not sushi, as you may have noticed from the distinct lack of nigiri on this site. The cold mushiness of the tuna works well when mixed with the rest of the cold mushy texture and temperature of sushi, but when you’re crunching along on some hot nachos and sink into a cold mushy fish bit, well it’s just not quite the same effect. It’s not funky enough to ruin the dish, indeed I thought these were pretty tasty, but if you’re someone with a texture or temperature food issue you may have a problem with these.
In a town where you can walk from H.P. Lovecraft’s man-faced rat haunted Witch House to a statue commemorating 1960’s TV comedy Bewitched within minutes, why wouldn’t you also be able to find such contradictory oddities as a sushi place that serves nachos? Possibly because these don’t appear to be a permanent fixture of their menu, so they might not have them when you make a stop at Koto to view a reading from local horror authors, or a local band, or something else you might watch on the stage at a sushi restaurant. Or maybe they will, who can say? And it’s witchcraft like a Schrodingers Sushi Nachos that makes Salem the spookiest town around!