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Sushi, Omakase, and a Shellfish Allergy

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Sushi, Omakase, and a Shellfish Allergy

rastan | Mar 30, 2005 10:43 AM

I'm a big fan of sushi, but I feel like I am missing out on much of the experience because I have a severe allergy to shellfish. I've done the blood test, and it turns out that eating anything with a shell or tentacle will send me into anaphylactic shock. This has led to problems in the past when restaurants "cross the streams" and contaminate my non-shellfish food with shellfish (using the same cooking surfaces, etc), but I have an excellent track record with sushi bars. My guess is that many sushi chefs seem to wash their hands between orders; rinsing off soft-shell crab before making my yellowtail, salmon, tuna, mackerel, eel, etc...

Now, my dilemma is thus: I want to try the "eat whatever the chef puts in front of you" situation (I believe it is called omakase) at many of the sushi bars around town (Matsuhisa, Nozawa, Sasabune, et al), but I fear that a) they would not accommodate a shellfish allergy or b) a potential language barrier might lead to confusion that ends with me having a bad time (see: anaphylactic shock).

Are there any other fellow hounds allergic to shellfish who can offer me some solidarity and/or recommendations about how/where to enjoy LA's finer sushi in the face of this tragic handicap?

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