6 p.m.: Whole Foods, Chelsea
Rebecca, a redheaded Web editor, is picking up salmon sushi. Shed noticed that the Times report found the highest mercury levels in tuna from Blue Ribbon and the lowest levels at Fairway. People who eat high-class sushi are more at risk for poisoning than people like me who eat ghetto sushi from Whole Foods, she said with some satisfaction.
6:30 p.m., West Side Market, Chelsea
Jean, an attorney and a nurse, eats more than six pieces of sushi a week and likes anything except eel. Told of the Times findings, she decides not to buy sushi for dinner. I was going to, she says. Ill go back to meat.
6:45 p.m., Go Sushi, Greenwich Village
Paul, an architect, and his wife, Shannon, are headed inside. They have sushi about every other week. The news doesnt worry me, Paul says, because fish is either good for you or bad for you.
7 p.m., Japonica, Greenwich Village
The upper-mid-level Japanese restaurant is fairly busy. Tuna is only offered here la carte or on a very expensive $55 plate. As she sits down to eat, Leslie Diamond, a hand therapist, says she doesnt believe the Times report. Her assistant, Teresa Luong, does. But Im not worried, because Im not pregnant and my immune system isnt compromised, Luong says. And I dont eat that much tuna.
7:30 p.m., Blue Ribbon Sushi, Soho
Two men and a woman are leaving; all say they work in the restaurant business, but none will give their names. In that article, there was a very androgynous statement that bluefin has the highest level of mercury, says one of the men. It depends where its harvested from. Androgynous? Androgynous meaning you cant tell the difference. Two years ago they said salmon had the highest mercury content, plus carcinogens and PCBs. How can we tell which is worse?
7:45 p.m., Gourmet Garage, Soho
A sign above the sushi counter warns against mercury in sushi for children and pregnant women; another says the store uses only yellowfin tuna. (The Times said most of the sushi sampled was bluefin.) Mona Bhatnagar, a consultant whose British accent renders it chuna, says shed never buy sushi at a supermarket. Its not just raw fish, she sniffs. Its the cut of the fish, the way its prepared, and the rice. I just dont think the person making it here is knowledgeable enough.
8:15 p.m., Nobu Next Door, Tribeca
Outside, handbag designer Kate Spade and interior designer Steven Sclaroff are having a postprandial cigarette. Sclaroff says he doesnt have an issue with eating tuna, but anyone who gives it to their kid is demonic. Spade says she feeds her daughter, Frances Beatrix, sole because she read its very low in mercury. A fancy-looking party of four exits the restaurant. We didnt have tuna, says a woman in a long fur. I did, says a guy. The woman in fur is unconcerned. One nights not going to kill you, she says, and nobody here is pregnant.