Wednesday, May 11, 2011

356...Sushi Special

I don't like change. When I came to Clemson in 2001, I thought downtown was the picture of college perfection. A large sampling of Clemson products, a rustic coffee shop, a lovely bookstore, a fashion shack, and a variety of restaurants all coexisted in downtown. As a freshman, I didn't have a car, and spent hours downtown Clemson due to its proximity to my dorm room.

Slowly, and much to my begrudging, things begin to change. The coffee shop closed, and changed into a bar. Fashion shack closed and also became a bar. Local rumor mill claimed that the coffee shop owners got into a fight and broke off into two businesses. One reopened the coffee shop a year later in a corner of downtown (Moe Joe's). The other took over that downtown fashion shack after several failed attempts at a sushi place. (Mainly bad luck, like flooding, not bad food, kept the business from being a huge success). Finally, the right place gave the owner a chance to open one of the first unique eating experiences in Clemson. 356 is a nice mixture of an artsy, big-city bar with a few added college touches (pool tables in the back) and great food. With such a great place, I do have to admit, that even sometimes, change is good, and 356 is much better than a fashion shack!

I have always associated 356 with literary readings. I saw Ron Rash read for the first time at 356. Eventually the literature crowd moved over to the Blue Heron, but I was already hooked on the veggie sushi by that point. Therefore 356 evolved from literary highbrow to fancy date. Time passed, and honestly, 356 fell of my radar of places to go.

When I started dating Trae, we taught each other about food. I think one night he suggested sushi in an attempt to impress me with his food daring-ness. In truth, the idea of sushi didn't seem daring, but fish did! I hated fish, but with coaxing from Trae, I tried...and really liked...all the sushi 356 had to offer. We soon learned that 356 offered an all you can eat sushi special on Monday nights for 12 dollars a person as well as 2 dollar martinis. You do not get to pick the sushi, but you get three different kinds of sushi on each plate you are delivered.

Since we were broke when we started dating, 356 was a special treat. We only ate there maybe once every two to three months, but each time provided a cozy atmosphere with no blaring music to talk over. The bartenders and waitress have always been nice, and even remember us despite our spotty attendance at 356. Also, Trae is allergic to shell fish, and technically on all you can eat sushi night, you are not allowed to pick your sushi, but the staff has always been extremely accommodating on Trae's allergy, which also is another reason I love 356. (Last time, the waitress went as far to make sure that the sushi rollers didn't need to change knives to make sure not cross-contamination of shellfish and non-shellfish would occur.)

 Last Monday, Trae came in from work saying we needed to go to 356, with his reason being, "we have to enjoy it while we can!" That impromptu sushi craving and date is what gave birth to the bucket list. We decided over delicious rolls and rolls of sushi that we couldn't miss a single culinary creation that the area had to offer while we were still here to enjoy it. And 356 was a perfect way to start our bucket list culinary adventure!

A picture from 356 date night in 2009!

1 comment:

Erin M. said...

356! I always think of Sam Renken's version of "Howl" that went on there... And buying my sister a drink though she wasn't yet 21;)

Between this and Tony's, I hereby recruit you to write something for TBJ ASAP, because you're good at it and you know good food:)

Miss you:)