Ito, a sushi chef in New York City and a widower who lives alone, has developed a crush on Marianne, a waitress who also lives alone. When he notices her sneaking a sip of saki, he decides that she needs help and invites her to dinner. As their relationship develops, we learn about their histories, Ito's life in Japan, his wife's death, and his mistress, and Marianne's life in North Carolina, her daughter, and her string of one night stands. Along the way, we meet a cast of other characters who are also living isolated, lonely lives, including a Vietnamese refugee, the owner of the sushi bar, and an erotic dancer. Each chapter is introduced with menu of foods that affect the story. In her debut, former sushi chef Power focuses on the dark picture of urban life, poignantly exploring the failure of people to build meaningful relationships.