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PERSONALS | MOVIE CLOCK | REP CLOCK | SEARCH

cheap eats
by dan leone

A raw deal

DON'T FORGET THAT Crawdad de la Cooter is a student, meaning ... spring break! Dude. For spring break she went to Mexico City to buy me socks and underwear, which are two of the many things that people need to buy me every now and again, because I'll sure as hell never buy them for myself. And if I did, I probably wouldn't buy them in Mexico City. She had other reasons for going there, sure, but let's talk more about my underwear!

My policy with underthings is about the same as my policy with outerthings, so if you've ever seen me with clothes on, you can easily picture for yourself what I look like in my skivvies: pretty ratty. I wear things until there are great big holes in them, and then I keep wearing them until they are more hole than thing. Meaning now that you've pictured me in my undies, you pretty much know what I look like naked.

Everyone done masturbating?

Good. Let's talk about sushi. It was the last thing me and Crawdad ate together before she left on her one-week underwear run, but that's not the only reason why I keep thinking about it. Sushi is one of the sexiest, deliciousest, all-around funnest, and therefore healthiest things you can eat. But it ain't cheap. There are ways to do it for 10 bucks; good luck finding them.

My own personal findings, to date:

1. Natori sushi buffet for lunch.

2. Yum Yum Fish in the Sunset.

3. Miyabi in the Castro.

4. Go fishing and make your own.

And now this: (5) Minami (not to be confused with Miyabi), Clement and 20th (not to be confused with Church and Market).

Minami is a tiny, colorful, and homey little place – I want to call it a ma-and-pa joint, but I honestly couldn't tell you if the man making the sushi and the woman serving it were husband and wife, and I wouldn't want to get anyone in trouble. I didn't see them kissing and hugging each other, or buying each other socks and underwear. But it had that feel to it, placewise, so that's what I'll say: it felt like a ma-and-pa establishment. And it was cheaper than sushi usually is. Almost all the nigiris, for example, go for under three bucks. (Saba, $2.30; albacore, $2.40; sake, $2.75.)

Saba is mackerel. It's the kind with that marble-colored layer of skin along one side, and it's always the cheapest because hardly anyone likes it but me. Take Crawdad ... doesn't like it. I forget which face she made, but she made a face when she took a bite, then gave the rest to me.

To me, saba has the perfect texture: it feels like fish. And it has the perfect taste: it tastes like fish. Which, if you're eating sushi, you're eating fish. You're eating fish the way fish eat fish, if you think about it, give or take wasabi and beer. There's something very, very beautiful about that. Saba! I don't know, I just love it, and I swoon and sway and want to sing, but rarely (if ever) do, on account of I'm sitting in a sushi restaurant.

If you want to get out of there for under 10 bucks, here's what to do: cheaper-than-average as it is, don't get nigiri; at $2.30 for saba, you can't quite do the five orders (10 pieces) for $10, like at Miyabi. And unless you've got Jesus with you, anything under five orders won't fill you up. Get sashimi. You get five pieces for $3.85, and if you order that twice, plus rice for a buck, you ought to be good to go for $8.70.

They gave us little bowls of complimentary potato pieces, too. About which all I have to say is, "???"

The edamame ($2) – soy beans boiled in the pod, you know – was hotter and saltier and fresher tasting than most, I thought. Crawdad also ordered a salad for $2, which I couldn't try because there was mayonnaise all over it. I only mention it because, for seven dollars less, it was almost as big as the nine-dollar salad I got suckered into last week at Galette, albeit without ham or eggs or pine nuts.

But speaking of last week's fiasco, this week, at least, I didn't go home hungry. Just sad and lonely, and I don't know, sad, I guess. Yeah. But hey, next week at this time, huh? ...

Am I right? Are you picturing it?

Minami. 1900 Clement (at 20th Ave.), S.F. (415) 387-5913. Tues.-Sat., 5-10 p.m.; Sun., 5-9:30 p.m. Takeout available. MasterCard, Visa. Beer and wine. Wheelchair accessible.

Dan Leone is the author of Eat This, San Francisco (Sasquatch Books), a collection of Cheap Eats restaurant reviews, and The Meaning of Lunch (Mammoth Books).