A User's Guide To Eating Fish Eggs With Grace*

*or sort of sloppily, like the animal you are.

October 14, 2016 ● 3 min read

Caviar is pretty cool.

It’s salty and pretty and hates contact with metal; it’s wildly expensive and pairs best with wildly expensive beverages and tiny pancakes; it’s delicious but also ridiculous given its value in terms of being an actual food that nourishes you — and it’s having a moment. Again.  

The dueling realms of foodie-ism are ruled by two distinct sects: high-end, you-can’t-afford-this foodies and hype beast stunt food eaters. The former posts pictures of outrageously expensive bottles of wine enjoyed out of solo cups in a private plane with Jacques Pepin, while the latter posts shots of tempura hot dog falafel sandwiches stuffed with curly fries and Morbier. They both covet caviar service, which is kind of like the center part in a very bougie Venn diagram.  

Becoming acquainted with this tradition of eating tiny little globules off a tiny spoon with tiny accompaniments comes with a steep learning curve: so here’s a handy guide to help you along!   

1.     Browse The Menu  

All of the pricing is by the gram and the only thing that you know of that’s bought by the gram is cocaine so this feels cool and dangerous and kind of gross. You catch your friend’s eye and before you can warn them that your rent is due in two days they say, “CAVIAR SERVICE WE ARE DOING IT” and put down their menu.  

2.     Order  

There’s this amazing thing that happens when you order something that screams, “I have great taste and am highly cultured,” where the server lets a knowing smile creep onto their face. It’s the same smile that comes out when you order something wildly expensive though, so it’s hard to tell if you’re buying their approval or have truly earned it. In any case, you just ordered the caviar tasting so yes, this is happening.  

3.     Wait  

For fuck’s sake what’s taking so long? Oh good, the wine is here. Your friend orders a bottle of bubbles AND the horseradish vodka and you can’t wait to see how they pair with those smooth salty pearls spread across fluffy blinis with sieved egg and chives…you nip a little taste of both to cleanse your palate.  

4.     Oh Fuck We Drank the Bottle of Wine and Horseradish Vodka Too Fast  

OK, ok, stay calm. Everything is fine. It’s warm in here and the water glasses are so tiny and you've got to stay hydrated. Order another round and pace yourself.  

5.     OH GOD IT’S HERE  

The server is elegantly explaining everything meticulously laid out in front of you but the animals that you're dining with have already started in on it. The whole thing is pretty overwhelming so you try to sort out your plan of attack while waiting for the mother of pearl spoon. Once it comes around to you…  

6.     Who the Hell Ate All of the Osetra  

No seriously what the hell you guys. Who knew caviar service was so cutthroat—  

7.     What Do You Mean There’s Salmon Roe On This Thing  

Bitch, why not just put tobikko on here? Why not vegan this shit up with some tapioca pearls?  (You can’t tell if its just the vodka talking but you’re a little heated. You eat the salmon roe anyway.)

8.     Wait, We’re Out of Blinis and Egg  

You voice this to the table and your friend responds by immediately offering you a caviar “bump” which is something he “saw online one time.” He takes a little bit of caviar and places it on the little creepy web of skin between your thumb and pointer finger; terror washes over you as you try to figure out if you are expected to snort these sturgeon eggs leaving a salty sheen on your hand. Before you can humiliate yourself, you see your friend slurp his. You regret playing with the four dogs in front of the restaurant before you sat down, then do the same.  

9.     We’re Out of Wine Again  

 You’re drunk now, nothing matters.  

10.  The Caviar High  

The overtly luxurious spread is now complete carnage and something nameless and fuzzy and kind of like spins after too many wine coolers washes over you. Just for a moment you can relate to those garbage rich kids of Instagram accounts.  

11.  The Bill Comes  

Your friend grabs the bill as soon as it hits the table, and just for a moment you think they’re about to make a big gesture but, no: they drop their card down and pass it over to you. Half real drunk, half fish egg drunk you scan the bill. It’s a big number. Like over 500 but less than 1000, maybe?  

One of your friends announces they forgot their wallet.  

By Richie Nakano | Collage by ChefsFeed