There are few places to get good sushi in Columbia. I’ve enjoyed Sake the few times I’ve been there. A lot of people like Osaka. You can also get the raw stuff at KoJaBa, Jina Yoo’s and a handful of other locations. At not one sushi place in my life – here, in Chicago, D.C., anywhere – have I seen the sushi chefs wearing gloves. But that’s exactly what the Columbia/Boone County Health Inspectors want them to be doing.
I had a discussion about this last night with Jina Yoo, owner of Jina Yoo’s Asian Bistro. She described her most recent encounter with a health inspector where he said she was required to have people making sushi wear plastic gloves. She said she was incredulous. “Have you ever seen people make sushi before? You cannot do it wearing gloves.”
He was adamant. And while she offered that she understood he was just doing his job, she felt the man’s supervisors should revisit the issue. Then, in fit of plucky defiance, she says she told him “the minute you walk out of here I’m having them take their gloves off.”
After I got done wiping the mojito-spray off myself she said he calmly looked at her and said, “I wouldn’t do that Ma’am.” She even did it in a perfectly deadpan American accent. And granted, there’s no excuse for some of the other things from their last inspection but seriously, there’s nothing magically disinfectant about latex gloves. And I can’t imagine trying to make sushi with them on.