Standing-only sushi stalls were the original fast-food joints of Japan, a phenomenon established in Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1810 by the architect of modern-day nigirizushi Hanaya Yohei. Since then, many standing sushi spots have taken root near bustling transportation hubs in major Japanese cities to cater to the hurried and the hungry.
The hurried and the hungry are precisely who Sonny Nguyen (Domu, Tori Tori) had in mind when opening his seatless house of sushi, Edoboy, this past July. Patrons could pop in for a few bites of high-quality sushi, pay up and get on their way. But there's only so many guests you can serve at an eight-person sushi bar — eight, to be exact. Walk-ins would have no choice but to wait outside in the sticky Florida funk.
So it was Resy to the rescue. Now standings (not seatings) can be controlled, making it convenient for everyone. And for the sake of celerity, there are rules to abide by at Edoboy: No. 1, don't stay longer than an hour; No. 2, limit nigiri orders to 12 pieces, and No. 3, don't bring cash. Pay heed to these three commandments and ye shall be delivered superlative slivers of seafood, courtesy of head sushi chef Tyler Inthavongsa and chef Francis Varias.
My first visit here, over the summer, was to experience the novelty of it all. The pal and I both maxed our selections from the list of 22 nigiri, torched nigiri (aburi sushi) and hand rolls (temaki), doubling up on flame-licked sweet red prawn ($6.50) seared with uni butter and sheened in sweet soy, and Spanish bluefin otoro ($8) coiffed with scallions. It was the stuff Jiro's dreams were made of.
Most of what we popped into our yaps — with our hands, naturally — lulled us into a blissful, briny haze (in between swigs of Night Swim sake, of course). We tried torched and non-torched forms of luscious Faroe Island salmon ($4; $5), leaning ever so slightly toward the seared Kewpie version, then madai ($5) graced with lemon zest and sea salt, followed by shima aji ($5) embellished with ginger and scallion.
At this point, we feel like Kevin Kline after he's had his way with K-K-K-Ken's fish tank in A Fish Called Wanda. ("I'm almost full. Almost.")
Our sushi stand ended with hand rolls stuffed with blue crab, truffle Kewpie mayo and cucumber ($7.50), but our meal ended with enjoyable miso soup ($3.50) fashioned from the bones of fish used that day. Also enjoyable: the pace of our meal. It was fast, but leisurely, and not once did we ever feel rushed. That said, we never did find the key to the safety deposit box.
But we did find a few diamonds on a subsequent visit and, this time, we were actually in a bit of a rush.
A half-hour is about all we had to devote to our meal, but that didn't stop me from stress-testing the Edoboy system. I went easy and ordered not 12, but 11 items, including Maine scallop with truffle salt and lemon zest ($4.50), madai torched with uni butter and topped with lemon juice and sea salt ($6.50) and a hand roll comprising Faroe Island salmon, salmon roe and shiso ($7.50).
Chef Ty served each piece on a bamboo leaf, and we duly grabbed and gulped. The capper was uni ($10) recently harvested off the coast of Santa Barbara and served as a warship roll. It was fresh, sweet and creamy, and, honestly, one was not enough.
But time was a-ticking and we needed to head out. So we paid up with about five minutes to spare, plotting our inevitable return. Edoboy, after all, is no one-night stand.