Miso-Horny Reduction.


Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

Ok, let’s just dive into the dirty bowels of this story.  Short and miso-honey sweet.

The chefs at my restaurant rotate who gets to make the Catch of the Day specials on the weekends.  The flavor palette always manages to linger around Asian-fusion category, and always manages to contain either miso or soy in the sauce.  I’ve worked at this restaurant since the cretaceous period, have verbally delivered millions of specials, never really jumbling anything up.

Sure, there have been a couple of slip ups such as “Man Chowder” which is the server lingo for Manhattan Clam Chowder and “Gas” for Grilled Atlantic Salmon.  But this one- oh, this one…

This one starts with halibut over lemon grass infused bamboo sticky rice with Julienned bok choy, red bell pepper and carrots finished with a miso-honey reduction.  Delicious.  But leave it to a few of us servers to inevitably practice delivering the special in an accent; and Asian accent.  I turn to one of my dearest friends and co-workers as he begins:

“Oh, wercome.  Tonight, we have haribut over a-bamboo a-sticky rice…”

“Oh yes, very dericious,” I add, “it a-come-a with a Jurienned vegetabres and-” just then I was seated a table.  I giggle and walk over to my first table of the evening. A table of four, nothing special.  I begin my routine shpeel and flawlessly deliver the specials.  Drink order, food order and done.

The evening progresses and the restaurant fills up.  I am (yet again) quadruple sat and am scrambling about -greeting and retrieving drink orders for each table- when in my peripheral vision do I see the hostess seat me another table.  A new record ladies and gentleman, this is what is known as being quintuple sat.  Five new tables within 10 minutes.  A total of 16 new people in my section.  I catapult myself from neutral, to sixth gear.

I rush over to my new table of four and shortcut my usual introduction:

“Good evening everyone!  Can I get something to drink for anyone?  Other than water that is on its way with the bread- No?  Fabulous.  While I am here, let me tell you about the specials tonight-” I stop to take a deep breath and deliver the specials.

Looking at the first person, I smile and proceed with the soup du jour and in mid-sentence, make eye contact with the second.  I got through the soup du jour and the appetizer special, making eye contact with each person, just fine.  While doing so, I noticed that they all happened to be of Asian decent.  I giggled to myself, flashing back three hours when my co-worker and I were delivering the specials to one another.  I proceeded with the catch of the day.

“And finally, the main event: the catch of the day.  Tonight, we have har..halibut [phew, close one.] over a lemon grass infused bamboo sticky rice with Julienned vegetables and drizzled with a miso-horny reduction.”

(Insert inner-monolgue gasp here).

DAMN IT! DAMN IT! DAMN IT!

I had caught myself at “halibut” and thought I was home free, until the reduction.  Miso-horny.  Really!?  To the table of Asians- REALLY!?  I was completely mortified feeling my face turn a hue of beet.  Were they going to be offended?  What would they tell my boss?  DAMN IT ALL TO SHANGHAI!

They began speaking to each other in what sounded like Cantonese.  Of all the languages I speak, none of them aids me in understanding any that end in “ese”.  I had four other tables waiting to order, but I ignored their eyes burning holes in the back of my head.  I was paralyzed in place and catatonic by my subconscious’ decision to portray me as a total bigot.  I watched as they spoke back and forth, pointing at the menu.  What were they saying to each other?

DAMN IT!

I stammered over my words as I asked if they had any questions on the menu.  They all shook their heads and proceeded to order.

“We make it very easy,” began the spokesperson for the table,  “we all have-a the haribut.  It sounds-a so good!”

I clenched my jaw to prevent it from dropping.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  Not only had they not even caught my ridiculous slip-up, they all ordered it.  Relieved that this little incident was now only mine to enjoy, I collected their menus and smiled.

“Excellent choice, sir.”

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