I Wish I Had Known That Was Sake

I really only wanted to see the onion volcano.  That is always the coolest part of eating at a Japanese steakhouse.  I have been to many such establishments in my time, and I was at another one last weekend for my sister-in-law’s birthday.  Having never been to this particular hibachi hangout, I was not 100% familiar with all of their tricks.  It’s always slightly different you know.  Sometimes they flip shrimp into their hats, sometimes they throw food at you, and sometimes they drop their spatulas accidentally.  But they always do the onion volcano.

Dinner started with a bit of spatula flipping, followed by a giant flaming oily heart squirted out in front of me and set ablaze with a little too much glee by our excited personal chef.  We got the onion volcano of course, and he also flipped some vegetables into our mouths from across the table, and when we had all manged to catch at least one, he basically just started chucking vegetables at us until he was out of ammo.  This was all to be expected and totally fun.

When the food was finished cooking he grabbed another bottle and started squirting a clear liquid into the mouth of my brother-in-law.  Now, in case you don’t all know this already, I don’t drinkAlcohol anyway.  My wife thinks I may be slightly allergic to it, but every time I have ever had alcohol, my ears have gotten red, my chest has felt tight, my head feels a bit foggy, and I get overheated and slightly tingly all over.  Some people tell me that this is supposed to happen and is, in fact, the whole point of it all.  If that is true, the rest of the world is crazy.  That is a horrible feeling.  Anyway, perhaps because of my non-drinking bias, I naturally assumed that what was being squirted was water.

The next person in line was my sister-in-law, who was holding a baby.  She pointed to the baby and shook her head, refusing politely.  “Ah ha,” I thought to myself, “that is smart.  She does not want the baby to be accidentally squirted with water and then start crying.”  My wife was up next and she got a mouthful from across the table as well, so it was suddenly my turn.  I smiled and nodded my head, not wanting to miss out on any of the fun.  Plus, I was a little thirsty anyway.  I opened my mouth and let him squirt away.

My mouth was probably about half full when I realized that this water tasted very bad.  My first thought was that they probably used the bottle for something else, like lemon juice or mustard, and that there was a residual taste left over that carried over into the water.  Yuck, but okay.  Then my mouth filled up and it felt a little burny.  The last time I had had any alcohol had been at my bachelor party, over nine years ago, so I didn’t immediately recognize the taste of alcohol, but I knew something was seriously wrong with my water.  Only when I had swallowed it, felt the terrible hotness seeping up my head, and turned to see the stunned faces of my dining companions, did I fully comprehend what had just happened.

“I can’t believe you just drank sake!” they said to me.  “Why did you do that?  You don’t drink!”

“I just drank what now?”  And for the next thirty minutes or so, I felt kind of awful.  Luckily the bad feelings soon faded and I was able to enjoy my evening again, for those of you that were concerned.  So this is just a warning post to any of you going to a Japanese steakhouse any time in the near future.  If the guy wants to squirt some sort of clear liquid into your mouth from across the room, it is not water.  Be warned.

Posted in Drinking, Food, Sake, Steak.


  1. Mmmmmm, sake.
    I like it cold, I like it hot!
    Now I’m told, you like it not?
    I love it in a saketini,
    I’ll even drink it in a bikini!
    Best served with a cucumber slice,
    You’d love it if you knew how nice.
    It’s my favorite summer drink!
    You’re the craziest tenor ever, I think!

  2. Adam,

    Maybe your reaction is genetic cause I get the same feeling when I drink alcohol…hence I don’t drink either. Maybe Matthew didn’t get that gene!

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