Rock and Roll Sushi

By on 16 April, 2018 in Food, Kate and Stephen, Restaurant Reviews with 0 Comments

For a town with so much fresh seafood, good sushi is surprisingly hard to find. So when we heard that a new franchise sushi place was opening out by Whole Foods, we made the long trek East to see what it was all about. Both times we went, the place was pretty packed, with servers working hard to make sure that folks were served in a timely way. It may just be the best sushi in town, despite the trappings that animate the place and the prevalence of weird rolls on the menu.

Their best stuff is in the “Classic Rock” section of the menu, with the veggie roll being by far the best deal at under $3. A few of these would make a healthy and delicious meal. The spider roll is good too – a classic that’s hard to mess up. But a surprising amount of their rolls are FRIED (their all caps) and/or topped with “crunchy flakes.” Who knows what those are. When we sat at the bar, we saw a number of rolls piled high with stuff on top of them go out to waiting patrons. We were glad we had ordered simpler fare.

Rock and Roll Sushi’s “headliners” are all expertly prepared, by sushi chefs who are focused and efficient. But the menu design, absurd names aside, is Exhibit A in the prosecution’s case that modern American sushi is increasingly a kind of mayonnaise conveyance device. Lovers of good sushi will find much to enjoy here if they can get past the gimmicky surroundings.

The atmosphere is fascinating. It’s not “cool” in the sense that it’s going for, but it’s fascinating. Slash, the guitarist, glowers down at you from the wall, suggesting a time when he was edgy, and not some guy in his mid-50s. There are a few signed guitars and televisions blaring music videos, but the atmosphere is more diner than restaurant. Sitting at the bar is recommended.
The menus are all old record sleeves, adding some tactile fun to your ordering experience. I ordered from Aerosmith’s “Toys in the Attic.” You don’t get art like that with a download. Nights we were there we ordered from different parts of the menu. We stayed away from fried rolls and tried to pick things that emphasized the quality of ingredients.
Whatever you think about eating a food item named after the drug abusers in Motley Crue, you can at least argue during your meal about whether Madonna and Johnny Cash actually qualify as “rock and roll,” or whether the menu designers just ran out of names and decided to grab a few universally recognizable musicians. What other excuse could there be for why the Madonna roll contains crawfish and crabmeat (and, of course, mayo).
And while Michael Jackson may deserve his own roll, whether his music constitutes rock and roll or not, why is Sammy Hagar present? Did David Lee Roth not merit his own roll? Or is that what you call a giant ball of pills held together with hairspray?
A lot of the rolls contain cream cheese, and a lot of them are entirely deep fried. ZZ Top’s roll is made of lobster, and the B-52s, who actually have a song called “Rock Lobster,” are unrepresented. Shrimp tempura may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Metallica (because how do you design a roll based around overly-litigious dudes coasting on their pre-1993 accomplishments?), but why do the Velcro Pygmies belong on this list of legends?
Be sure to look under “rock and raw” for the nigiri and sashimi. The cuts of fish are actually good. $5 bucks for four pieces of yellow tail tuna is absurdly cheap, and may help explain why a $42 billion industry is on the verge of collapse:
It’s worth noting that their menu isn’t all sushi. There’s an $18 filet mignon on the menu under the “Back Stage Grill.” Why you would go to a sushi place to get a steak is kind of beyond us, but to each his own. Overall, the place is pretty good. It may just be Montgomery’s best sushi, if you can get past the “Headliners” and concentrate on the oldies.
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