Origami, Westward Ho!

The last time I was at Origami I had the aji, a pint-sized silvery horse mackerel served in two courses. The first preparation presented the fish as sashimi, the taste of it so very flowery, herbal, and meaty that I was forced to do a spontaneous happy tap dance beneath the sushi counter, shocking all present. The second course is the aji skeleton, deep-fried, the delicate little bones as crisp as a potato chip and twice as thin. Ooh, tasty!

If you're squirming around in disgust now, you might as well know that we'll never be roommates. To me, people who won't eat fish bones are either prudes or cowards, and while I will always be really nice to you, I will always try to get someone in my foxhole first. I mean, Origami is really one of the nicest points of living in the Twin Cities: Great fish, great sushi chefs, fun times, and, except for maybe Fridays and Saturdays, always very easy to get into.

So I really don't know how I feel about the news that an Origami is opening in Ridgedale (the scheduled opening is December 15). What will happen when the genius trio of sushi chefs splits up? Has it been the spirit of competition between A-San, Hidei, and Ryuske that's made everything so fab? I've known about this new Origami for months, and I just go back and forth on the topic. Is Ridgedale ready for real-deal sushi, and not the grocery-store kind? Will the presence of Ridgedale diminish the Warehouse District original? What will happen to the original downtown Origami?

I spoke to Origami's new general manager Jefferey Fortson, and he assured me there is nothing to worry about. The new 108-seat spot, which is near the Marshall Field's, will serve lunch and dinner and will have a full bar, he said. All of which will only bring greater glory to the original Origami, increasing its purchasing power, especially with beer and wine. In fact, he said, the Origamis will now have a 30-bottle by-the-glass list, and plan to debut two-day sushi-and-wine dinners sometime this winter. You'll be able to sample wine paired with sushi at Origami downtown one night, and at the Origami in Ridgedale the next.

But won't Ridgedale have to be more about steaks and soups than sushi? "No, we're going to have even more of an emphasis on the sushi out there, versus the tempuras and teriyakis. Granted, it is Ridgedale and not the sushi heartland, but a lot of our reservations come from the 763 and the 952," says Fortson. "Just figure it will allow [the downtown Origami] to be even more bold and adventurous." Even more bold and adventurous? Well, why didn't you say so? All hail the imminent Ridgedale Origami, and the limitless future!

Origami; 30 North First St., Minneapolis; 612.333-8430

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30 1st St. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401


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