Restaurants Feeling the Effects of Mercury ScareEarlier today we showed you a letter Takahachi is giving its customers. It’s not the only restaurant around town feeling the fallout. “We were very busy yesterday, but today is so quiet,” a sushi chef at Hatsuhana in midtown whispered the evening after the January 23 article was published. “Even customers that are coming in are asking for no tuna.” In the Village, celebrities usually wait patiently in line for a table at Japonica. “I don’t know whether it’s the article, the economy, or our customers are on vacation, but all of a sudden our business has fallen down 20 to 30 percent, and 15 percent of those who come in have changed their regular orders. It’s even worse for my friends who have restaurants in Westchester and Connecticut. There is a lot you can eat at sushi restaurants other than tuna,” said owner Shingo Yonezawa. “It’s a nightmare.” And not only Japanese restaurants are affected. “When we put tuna on the menu, it was such an easy sell,” said Danny Abrams, owner of The Mermaid Inn and others. “We were selling seventeen to twenty per night. After the article we were down to six or seven. Even our tuna tartare appetizer stopped selling. I was surprised it dropped as much as it did.” —Beth Landman
Sushi Eaters Face Tuna FearsThe Times tested the mercury levels in tuna sushi served at twenty different city stores and restaurants this week. At most of them, mercury levels exceeded those set by the Environmental Protection Agency. On Wednesday, New York’s Tim Murphy set out to see who in the city was still buying tuna sushi, and why.
6 p.m.: Whole Foods, Chelsea
Rebecca, a redheaded Web editor, is picking up salmon sushi. She’d 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.
The New York Diet
Model Missy Rayder Drinks Garlic and Eats ‘Dragon Bowls’Missy Rayder, currently featured in Gap’s khaki ads, isn’t sweating the whole “skinny models” thing: She grew up in Wisconsin eating McDonald’s and microwaveable cheese-filled hot dogs. Her tastes were refined after she moved to New York City at the age of 16: “I switched a long time ago from my days of drugs to food.” Of course, that doesn’t mean she’s staying home cooking. “My stove doesn’t even work. I don’t think I’d be a very good wife.” Nevertheless we let her seduce us with tales of superlative brisket (fed to her while Terry Richardson photographed her for Uniqlo) and the best French fries in the city.