SCOTT SIMON, host:
This summer, we've been vicariously touring some of the South's most delicious and affordable restaurants with Chappy Hardy. Chappy's a man about town based in New Orleans, and at least until he gets his car fixed, he's confined his tour to restaurants in that city. Oh, boo-hoo. So if you happen to be on Canal Street in New Orleans this weekend about halfway between the cemeteries and the Mississippi River, listen up now.
Chappy, thanks for being back with us.
Mr. CHAPPY HARDY: Thank you, Scott. It's always nice.
I am at a wonderful Japanese restaurant called Kung Pai(ph), which I understand means cheers. You know, if you're lifting a glass of sake, you would say `Kung Pai.' And it is a sushi buffet.
Mr. HARDY: And I have been stuffing myself for about the last 45 minutes.
SIMON: But with what? What's there? What's on the sushi bar?
Mr. HARDY: They have just about everything you can imagine.
SIMON: Yeah. You mean, like California roll or maybe there, it's Bayou roll or something?
Mr. HARDY: Well, they have a crawfish roll here.
Mr. HARDY: Yeah, which is really great. And they have a snowcrab roll which is wonderful. But my favorite is the crunchy roll, crab--snowcrab and tempora. It is just delicious, and it's got an incredible consistency to it. But I've got a feeling that what I really like about sushi is the wasabi and ginger and soy sauce. Personally, my tastes in sushi are really pretty pedestrian.
Mr. HARDY: I could probably break up a Styrofoam ice chest and dip it in there and I would eat it.
SIMON: What about price?
Mr. HARDY: Well, they have a lunch buffet for $9.50. So this is the best deal going.
SIMON: Chappy, there are some things you just don't want to get a bargain on, like brain surgery, for example.
Mr. HARDY: Exactly, yeah.
SIMON: And given the fact that we're talking about, you know--dress it up, dress it down: We're still talking about raw fish here. Wouldn't you worry that they're using day-old stuff or something?
Mr. HARDY: Well, I know for a fact that they don't. I have eaten enough sushi in my life to know when it's turned. I have never, ever had the slightest reluctance to eat the things that they put out here.
SIMON: I bet as soon as you leave, the price of the buffet goes up to $15, just to make up for the damages of your visit. Now you have been eating this summer with that same fork, so that you can fairly calculate cost per bite.
Mr. HARDY: Well, I've got a confess that I did not use the fork this go-around because I used chopsticks. But I have a pair of chopsticks that I bring with me everywhere.
SIMON: Just in c--so how did the cost-per-bite measure up?
Mr. HARDY: Well, for a sushi restaurant, this is incredible. I have eaten 104 bites of sushi.
SIMON: Oh, my gosh.
Mr. HARDY: Well, you know, your average pieces of sushi is maybe three bites, you know. It comes out to 9.0384 cents a bite with a degree of delectabililty of about 9.3. I just love this place.
SIMON: Would you ever consider foregoing some of the fried chicken or fatback or sweet potato pies and barbecue for more sushi in your diet?
Mr. HARDY: As it is now, I'll probably have it in my diet one meal a week, and that's plenty, you know. But I'm not giving up the fried chicken or the chicken-fried steak or the garlic mashed potatoes 'cause I like 'em.
SIMON: Chappy Hardy is the Man from Hunger helping uninhibited nibblers get exact results. Chappy....
Mr. HARDY: Yeah.
SIMON: ...arrigato, my man.
Mr. HARDY: Arrigato to you, too. Back at you.
SIMON: To see Chappy in the flesh, come to our Web site, npr.org.