Last night, I had a dream that I was sitting at a sushi bar, watching the chef work with his knife before me. He sliced two slim pieces of soft, red flesh and placed them gently on balls of warm sushi rice. He leaned over the bar and laid the two sushi pieces on the wooden platform in my reach, an inch away from a small pat of wasabi and wet pile of dusty-pink pickled ginger.
“This is whale,” he said, looking me in the eye. “No soy sauce.”
Taken aback, I said, “No. Thank you, no whale please.”
“Whale,” he said, now stern. “You eat it. Chef’s special Omakase.” He tightened the grip on his Shun knife.
“No. I can’t. I can’t,” I whimpered, overwhelmed suddenly by fear.
“EAT IT,” he said. And suddenly we were no longer at a sushi bar but in a cavernous black room, with him pinning me against a chair while shoving large, bloody pieces of whale meat into my mouth. “EEEEEEAT IIIIIT!”
The nightmare, of course, stemmed from a week of reading about the recent bust of Santa Monica sushi resto The Hump, an eatery known for serving exotic sushi. The place was busted after two undercover females with a lipstick camera ordered the $600 Omakase menu and requested whale, then were awarded eight pieces. They pocketed samples of the meat and later had them analyzed, identifying the meat as that from the endangered sei whale.
LAT describes the resulting charge:
Named in the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, were Typhoon Restaurant Inc., owner of the Hump, and chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, of Culver City.
The illegal sale of a marine mammal product is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000 for an individual and $200,000 for an organization, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The story only gets worse as it develops–from speculation that the meat may have been creepily procured from the trunk of a white Mercedes to web evidence that The Hump has also served endangered sea turtle. We don’t even want to think about how hard they must have been pushing bluefin, sheesh.
All we know is, nothing tastes good enough to render extinct. Shame on both buyers and sellers–what a nightmare.
Thanks, Maris and RJ!
Filed under: Busts, Charges, Endangered Species, Illegal Sale of Marine Mammal Products, Illegally Selling Whale Meat, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, Los Angeles, Ocean Brethren, Omakase, Santa Monica, Sei Whale, Sushi, Sushi Chef, The Hump, This is Bullshit, Typhoon Restaurant Inc., Whale Meat, White Mercedes, WTF?
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