The day was off to a great start.
Munch and Dear One of Munch had already enjoyed an idyllic afternoon at the dog park with Pups of Munch when we decided to swing by a new favorite watering hole, the Allegheny Wine Mixer on Butler Street in Lawrenceville, for some wine and cheese before dinner.
From there, the day just got better.
DOOM was telling the bartender about Fukuda, the new sushi joint where we planned to eat dinner, when a man leaned over to us. He said he and his girlfriend were new to Pittsburgh and looking for a good sushi restaurant.
Munch and DOOM -- being sociable foodies who are always eager to tell anyone who will listen why Pittsburgh is a seriously amazing place to live, work and of course, eat -- invited New Friends of Munch to join us for dinner at Fukuda.
We agreed to head home, grab wine (Fukuda is BYOB) and reconvene in Bloomfield later that evening.
Munch and DOOM got to Fukuda first and were seated at the corner of the sushi bar. Fukuda is tiny -- only about two dozen seats in the whole place, including chairs at the bar, so reservations are a must.
New Professor Friend of Munch and New Actor Friend of Munch joined us at the bar and we opened a bottle of wine. We spent so much time talking we almost forgot we were in a restaurant -- Fukuda is so small that it makes you feel like you're sitting at a counter in your best friend's kitchen. This is a good thing -- sometimes Munch gets overwhelmed by big restaurants with big menus.
We started with the three cold appetizers available that night (the menu changes daily). Tuna sashimi with apple cube, mirin gastrique and avocado-mint puree ($8.50) was delicious. A block of silken tofu with crispy kale, garlic, sesame oil and scallion, among other ingredients ($7) was also weirdly tasty. Munch was skeptical that an unseasoned rectangle of tofu topped with unidentifiable objects would taste good, but it did. Ponzu duck breast ($8) with grilled scallion and shiitake was also a hit.
Munch asked for a bowl of ramen ($7.50) and was told they were sold out of ramen for the day. Munch promised to return, and Munch meant it.
For dinner, we shared an Aka roll ($16 -- tuna, petrified cilantro stems, spicy emulsion, etc.) and two chef's choice sampler sushi and sashimi platters ($24 each). While it seemed like a lot of money for the amount of food, Munch accepts that as part of deciding to eat sushi for dinner. (Next time, Munch will go earlier to ensure a ramen appetizer.)
The conversation continued well after we'd polished off all of the wine and sushi -- if we'd had more wine, or if Fukuda offered dessert, we would've lingered longer.
Instead, we bowled until the wee hours of the morning at Arsenal Lanes in Lawrenceville.
It was a great day, and here's a secret for New Friends of Munch: Days like this seem to happen more often in Pittsburgh than anywhere else.