Growing up in high school, my friend Szu and I were obsessed with all things Japanese. We loved going to sushi restaurants together. In fact, she introduced me to my favorite type of sushi — amaebi, or sweet (raw) shrimp.
When Szu told me that she was visiting New York, I knew we had to grab something Japanese to celebrate our past. However, I had to avoid sushi restaurants. She lives in San Francisco, and sushi restaurants are a dime a dozen in San Francisco, after all! I decided to take her to Basta Pasta, a restaurant serving Italian cuisine interpreted by Japanese chefs. Basta Pasta is famous for its Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare, or sea urchin spaghetti, but sadly they had run out of sea urchin by the time we arrived.
No matter, because the waiter wheeled out half of a Parmesan wheel to our neighboring table. He started preparing Spaghetti con Prosciutto e Parmigiano, a glorious looking spaghetti seasoned with butter, given a whirl in the Parmesan wheel, and plated with proscuitto and basil.
I was terribly tempted to get what our neighbors described as “fancy mac and cheese,” but instead opted for Spaghetti con Uova di Pesce, a spaghetti with butter, clam juice, flying fish roe, and shiso.