When reviewers can't talk about the interior styling of a restaurant or the table side manner of the server, they must concentrate solely on the food. This week, critic Hanna Raskin goes outside the dining room to visit mobile kitchen Short Grain.
"It’s true that most of the restaurants singled out for review have a fixed address," she writes and acknowledges that there aren't tables, alcoholic beverages, or air-conditioning at food trucks, but Raskin is at Short Grain to take in the "untraditional Japanese" fare from chef Shuai Wang, not the ambiance.
Built on a bed of lovingly steamed white rice that coheres without clumping, The O.G. is essentially a vehicle for immaculate slices of fresh raw fish. But what a supporting cast! The fish is overlaid with little crooks of puffed rice; vinegary pickle slivers; a dollop of sweet, sunset orange fish roe; crinkly dried seaweed and brittle white sesame seeds. Assuming you’re not put off by a flume of slick, Sriracha-tinged mayonnaise, the discreetly hearty coastal dish is exquisite. When I first tried it, I blogged that it was a dish I’d happily eat every week. In retrospect, that sounds like an understatement.
Raskin doesn't discriminate against where the food is cooked when it comes to refreshing cuisine, stating:
... it tastes like it couldn’t have come from anywhere but Short Grain. That’s the kind of hallmark cooking that belongs in Charleston, whether served in a dining room or from a trailer.