Sunday, September 5, 2010

How Do You Roll?

Well dear readers, sorry it's been a while! Today I will delight you with my thoughts on How Do You Roll?

Friday evening Patrick and I ventured to the Second Street location (there is also one at The Domain). How Do You Roll's concept is really neat. I compared it to a Subway for sushi; however, the employee corrected me as it is the "Chipotle" of sushi. I suppose Chipotle is classier? Whatever. I think it's Subway. You can't get the best sandwich at Subway, but it's fast, cheap and decent. How Do You Roll is just that. Well maybe a little less than decent ...

Upon arriving, the guy behind the counter explained to us how it works:
1. Pick your wrap - Seaweed or Soy
2. Pick 3 veggies
3. Pick your fish
4. Pick your topper sauces

Patrick and I opted for two of How Do You Roll's custom rolls and one create your own roll.

The first roll we picked was the Slammin' Salmon Roll. This roll included a seaweed wrap, salmon, cream cheese, jalepeno, mango, masago, spicy mayo, sesame chili oil and unagi sauce.

The second roll we opted for was the 3 Alarm Roll. This roll is also a seaweed warp with tuna, avocado, cucumber, jalapeno, crunch, spicy mayo, sweet chili, sesame chili oil and and chili powder.

Our create our roll was kind of a hodgepodge of items. I picked a seaweed wrap with mushrooms, avocado and asparagus as my veggies. Patrick picked crawfish for the meat, and we topped it with creamy miso sauce.

We also ordered some miso soup, so let's start there. The miso was standard. I'm pretty positive they just buy the little packets from H.E.B and add water. There's nothing wrong with that I suppose, but I can do that at home. It was little more watery than I like, but you can't really mess up soup.

Now the rolls.

Let's start with the Slammin' Salmon Roll. Let's just say there wasn't anything too "slammin'" about this roll. I'm not really sure what exactly it tasted like as it was so spicy I only ate two, and had to guzzle water after each one. The spice was so overwhelming that's all you could taste. Patrick disagreed and said it was his favorite of the rolls we ordered. He thought the 3 Alarm Roll was spicier. I, however, disagree. Furthermore, there was no varying texture of the roll. It was just kind of mush ...

The 3 Alarm Roll was my favorite of the three rolls; however, it was still pretty bland. I didn't think it was spicy at all, but Patrick did so I guess that could be debated. It lacked texture. The roll had "crunch" on top of it, but I'm sad to report there was no crunch. I can't really think of anything to say about the roll besides it was incredibly blah.

I won't bore you with my thoughts on our create your own roll. Let's just say I shouldn't be a sushi chef anytime soon. The flavors were random, and didn't really pair well.


How Do You Roll has a great concept, but the food is just all right. The fish didn't seem as fresh as it could be, and I had a terrible stomach ache the next morning. It could have been from the intense explosion of spice I experienced or bad fish or too many beers at the bar. Who knows? But the overall fish quality leaves a lot to be desired and I worried that Patrick and me would get food poisoning.

Patrick gave the rolls a "resounding ehh". I'm inclined to agree. There was nothing special about the rolls, and I probably won't go back. However, the price was right as I had groupon. I spent $10 for $20 worth of food at How Do You Roll. We spent $6.95 on dinner so that would have been $26.95 for three rolls and two soups with out the groupon. That's pretty affordable, but Patrick and I agreed that we would have been pretty peeved if we had spent $26.95 on that dinner since it wasn't delicious. But for $6.95 ($16.95 really if you include the cost of the groupon), we thought it was OK. So if you could get all that for $6.95 all the time, I suppose it might be worth it? Wait. Nevermind. It's not.

We dined outside at the Second Street location, and with the weather being a cool 80-s0mething-degrees, our walk downtown and eating outside was probably the highlight of our dining experience. That doesn't say much for the restaurant.

And the mouthgasms?

Slammin' Salmon - 2
3 Alarm Roll - 2.3
Create your own - 5 for concept, 1 for deliciousness

Furthermore, the name of the restaurant is stupid. How Do You Roll? Um, how original ...

Until next time readers ...

And remember keep it sexy, Austin.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Let me just say, I've always been a big believer in: "You get what you pay for". And this saying has never been more true in regards to my last sushi experience.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I ventured downtown to Kyoto on my lunch break to enjoy some rolls and chat with two of my fabulous friends: Taylor and Devon. The three of us go way back.

Devon and I have been enjoying sushi together circa 2004. Throughout the years, while home from college, we made it a point to have our "sushi dates," and I'm happy to say that our dates have continued into adulthood - er, if we even are really "adults"?

Taylor and I also go way back - circa fifth grade. You could probably even count second grade, but we were in different classes. Anyway, we were tragically torn apart in fifth grade, but became friends our senior year of high school. It's an adorable story of two people meant to be best friends, but I digress ...

Anyway, so we all met at Kyoto at about noon. The atmosphere of Kyoto is great. It's on Congress Avenue, above the famous Elephant Room (For all the ladies, The Dress Shop is also below Kyoto. Totally fabulous dresses!). The long, rectangular room offers a sushi bar and dining tables. It also looked like the restaurant had several "private" tables that were a more traditional, Japanese style of dining. Though "traditional, Japanese style," is an assumption on my part as I have never been to Japan (though I would love to go if anyone wants to take me!). And I digress again ... The tables are low to the ground and you sit on a cushion with a chair back. It looked like there was a hole beneath the table to dangle your legs. The chair backs, however, looked extremely uncomfortable. The tables did appear to have a sliding door to create an intimate dining atmosphere.

Kyoto also has great lunch specials. Each of us chose the roll special. You get two rolls out of a choice of six or so, and miso soup all for $6.50 (a grand total of $7.04 with tax). I also hear Kyoto has a good happy hour, and the restaurant's miso soup is pretty tasty.

So I am sad to say the positives of my review end here.

Like I said, we each did the roll special. Devon ordered the Godzilla and California rolls; Taylor opted for the Spicy Tuna Tempura and California rolls; and yours truly dined on the Godzilla and Spicy Tuna Tempura rolls.

I'm not really sure where to begin on the horribleness of the whole situation. From service to food quality, Kyoto, well ... It sucked to put it lightly.

Let's start with service.

Devon unfortunately was in a bit of last-minute rush. But seeing as most people have a lunch hour, we figured service would be speedy. Devon said she had been there before for lunch and was in and out. Well today was not that day. It was nearly impossible to get our waiters' (yes we had more than one) attention. Our main waiter paid little attention, didn't offer us straws and ignored (or maybe was oblivious) to our "we need your assistance" gestures and/or stares. Furthermore, Taylor arrived a little late, and it took about 15 minutes just for them to take her order. And then another 15, just to get her soup! Seriously, I'm pretty sure all they had to do was ladle ...

Devon barely finished eating in time to get to her appointment as Taylor was just getting her soup. I kid you not. As Devon had to make a hasty exit, I did not get to obtain her impressions on the sushi.

However, Taylor and I both agreed the sushi was bland, unoriginal and didn't quite satisfy our craving. Since we both had the Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll, we'll start there.

The rolls.

The Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll is basically a spicy tuna roll fried tempura-style (golden, flaky, crunch) covered in eel sauce.

First off, the roll should be called the tuna tempura roll as not one hint on spice hit my 'buds. Secondly, they can omit the tempura as well as it was basically a fried, gooey blob. Where was the golden? Where was the flake? Where was the crunch? All I got was a soggy mess. Thirdly, while I love eel sauce, there is such a thing as too much eel sauce. As I discussed my disaster-sushi-lunch with my boss, I told her about the abundance of eel sauce. She suggested they might be trying to cover up bad fish. I'm inclined to agree with her. So, thanks for pointing that out, Aimee! Luckily, there was no food poisoning involved, bad fish or not.

Now let's discuss the Godzilla Roll. This roll puts blah in bland! While on paper it sounds amazing, the overall effect is lackluster and boring. The Godzilla Roll includes salmon, avocado and cucumber on the inside, drizzled with spicy terriyaki sauce and sprinkled with crunchy tempura flakes.

Once again, where is the spice in this roll? I mean I know I can't handle super hot food, but seriously? When I think something has no spice, it clearly lacks hotness on all levels (from looks to taste!).

The roll was also squishy. I'm not sure if it was the rice or what, but the roll fell apart easily. When I picked one up with my chopstick, it kind of caved in on itself, making it difficult to eat. Also, I wanted the crunch of the tempura flakes with each bite, but the flakes easily fell off the roll. I was left to scoop them with my chopsticks and eat them separately. On that note, the flakes were a little stale, as Taylor pointed out. The overall flavor of this roll is just boring. I can't think of a better word to describe it. There's nothing impressive about this roll. Let's just say this roll is Godzilla-like in name only.

I also tried one of Taylor's California rolls. And it was dry, and comparable to grocery store sushi. It needed some sort of sauce like an aioli or a creamy wasabi sauce. I'm pretty sure it was imitation crab, too. Now that I'm also looking at Kyoto's menu online, it seems they use a lot of imitation crab meet in their rolls. YUCK!

Furthermore, the rolls were not filling. While I was full at the time, about 30 minutes later I was starving and resorted to a Kashi bar for an afternoon snack. The Kashi bar was extremely satisfying, in case you were wondering.

And the mouthgasms?

All rolls get a one. Do I really need to explain why? Didn't think so.

Overall, if you want sushi and are on a tight budget, you're better off going to H.E.B in my opinion. I've had some decent rolls from Central Market and Whole Foods for under $10. I'm not saying I won't ever go here again as I think everything deserves a second chance, but there is definitely better sushi out there.

Let me know your thoughts, readers. I've heard nothing but good things about Kyoto. Unfortunately, I left disappointed, but feel I got what I paid for. Sushi is cheap for a reason, I suppose.

In unrelated sushi news, my smokin' hot boyfriend and I ordered Sushi Zushi for dinner tonight - OMG. YUMMMM. You MUST try the Oaklawn Roll. Seriously, 5+ mouthgasms! I have a feeling Sushi Zushi will be hard to beat in terms of taste, presentation AND price point!

And lastly dear readers, how do I leave a freakin' comment on this blog? I've tried to respond to y'alls comments and can't figure it out. I'm somewhat technology inept. So please help me out!

Until next time, keep it sexy, Austin.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oops ...

A few things I forgot to mention about Sushi Zushi:

1. The price is right. It's averaged priced for sushi and you definitely get a bang for your buck.
2. They also have a variety of Japanese food for your non-sushi loving friends.
3. THEY DELIVER. Yes, I kid you not. They deliver. I believe it's $25 before tax minimum. And yes, I have ordered just for myself and devoured all of the sushi. Impossible you say? Trust me, it is.
4. Check out their website for prices, menu, location and ordering online (no human interaction needed!).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sushi Zushi

So before I begin my first review, I must give a shout out to my wonderful (and strikingly handsome) boyfriend for not only coming up with the name of my blog, but also tinkering with the HTML to create the fabulous background you are currently viewing. So, thanks, Patrick George! We both know I don't have the patience to figure this stuff out :)

And now, my review for my current favorite sushi place in good ol' ATX - Sushi Zushi located on W. 5th St.

After my initial blog post, I was, of course, craving sushi. So my fabulous friend Ali and I headed that way. We are frequenters of this sushi establishment, and I always know I can count on Ali to eat sushi with me! Though she is now venturing into veganism ... we'll see how that goes!

Some might consider Sushi Zushi a chain as it has four locations in San Antonio, two in Austin and one in Dallas. However you feel about chain restaurants, you must experience Sushi Zushi. I frequent the one on W. Fifth, but there is one at The Domain in North Austin.

First off, let me warn you: The menu overwhelms at best. Sushi Zushi's menu caters to the adventurous sushi eater, as it has some of the most creative rolls I've ever seen. While creative, the menu lists so many rolls it can be hard to decide what to eat as the choices are simply overwhelming. Never fear, the waitstaff is always helpful and ready to explain and offer some yummy choices. It is also easily divided by fish type and roll type. Once recovering from your initial sushi-choice-overload, I know you'll find something to suit your palette, and don't be afraid to try something a little crazy!

I didn't get my favorite roll while I was at Sushi Zushi this last time. But believe me, the Sushi Zushi Roll is to DIE FOR! It's smoked salmon, asparagus, kanikama crab, yamagobo, avocado and cream cheese wrapped in cucumber and seaweed and topped with eel sauce. I normally don't like smoked salmon or cream cheese in my rolls, but the overall flavor combination combined with the soft and crunchy textures definitely is a celebration in my mouth. While this is not an "official" review of the roll, I give it 5 out of 5 Mouthgasms!

Now on to the rolls that Ali and me devoured: Jen and Strawberry rolls.

We started our meal with edamame. It's always steamed perfectly and little on the saltier side (which is fabulous because I love salt. High blood pressure, here I come!). Ali dined on the house salad (her thoughts to come soon) and I got my usual - miso soup.

Miso is my standard appy at all sushi establishments. Sushi Zushi by far has some of the best miso I've tried. It's not too watered down and has the perfect salt to water ratio. I don't even put extra soy sauce in it. In addition, huge chunks of tofu and seaweed float through the cloudy broth. DE. LICI. OUS.

On to the main course.

Ali opted for the Jen Roll while I ordered the Strawberry Roll.

The chef combines spicy crab and sprouts topped with tuna, salmon and escolar, drizzled in a creamy wasabi sauce to create the tongue-tingling Jen Roll. I am not a fan of spicy foods, but this roll is pure perfection on the spice level. It doesn't make you break a sweat or guzzle a gallon of water, but it doesn't leave you wanting more heat! The creamy wasabi sauce - I could eat it on everything I think. And if it's not spicy enough for you, add a little bit of wasabi to your soy sauce and your mouth will be ON FIRE!

The sprouts also add a nice little crunch. I love the combination of textures in food, especially sushi, and I think this roll accomplishes a subtle amount of variance, but not enough to freak you out!

The strawberry roll is probably one of the most creative/adventurous rolls I've tried. The combination of shrimp tempura and masago wrapped in avocado, tuna and strawberries topped with kiwi and Las Vegas sauce creates a tropical experience for your tastebuds. I'm not exactly sure what Las Vegas sauce is, but it's delicious! This roll has a salty-sweet combo. The shrimp tempura mixed with the sweet fresh strawberries makes you feel like you're on Japanese pic-nic. I've never thought fruit paired with sushi would be so delightfully delectable.

Once again, this roll combines textures artfully. The crunchy tempura with the softer strawberries, avocado and fish really is quite enjoyable. Not to mention, the roll is beautiful! It's bright red with green sauce. I loved the colorful and yummy creation!

The rolls in general at Sushi Zushi are just right to a little large in size. Ali said she had "spillage" and would never eat the rolls in front of dude. I'll let you read into that what you will! However, based on the size or maybe it's sushi (or Ali?), the rolls offer up a slew of great "that's what she said" banter.

The atmosphere is also great. Rather you're there with a group of friends or on a first date, Sushi Zushi can accommodate your needs. It has a loungey feel, and they turn down the lights once the sun starts to go down. I've never noticed any music so either they don't play it or it's not obnoxious/loud enough to make you say, "OMG, why are they playing this?". They also have a fabulous cocktail selection (perfect for a girl's night or happy hour!). I didn't get one on this adventure, but I've some yummy ones before.

The waitress we had was friendly and helpful. She even suggested some great rolls for our next visit. Her recommendations include the Bora Bora, Cosimo, Diamond, Jack, Godzilla, Diamond rolls, among others!

And the mouthgasms?

Jen Roll - 4
Strawberry Roll - 4.5

Well readers, I apologize for the tardiness of this first review (I told you I was lazy!), but there will certainly be more to come. Please feel free to suggest my next place review, and let's hold off on Uchi. I'm saving it for a special occasion!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Quest Begins

A few weeks ago while at dinner I came up with the best idea. Well, I think it's the best idea: To Find the Best Sushi in Austin (and write a blog about it). And now, the quest begins.

I am a 23-year-old avid sushi lover and addict. I would it all day, every day if I could. Unfortunately, this addiction can be a little expensive, but in my eyes, yummy food is totally worth every penny.

As this is my introductory blog, I will not review a restaurant at this time. Though, I plan on having my first post with my favorite sushi place in Austin thus far by the weekend. However, readers (if there are any?) I am counting on YOU to keep me accountable and give me some feedback.

I tend to get lazy (extremely lazy depending on who you ask!) when keeping up with projects I start i.e. this blog. So, it's up to you to keep me in line. Someone has to! So dear reader, hold me accountable and make me eat all the sushi I can handle. Let's hope I don't gain any significant weight during this experiment. Sushi is good for you, right?

Also, I want to know what your favorite sushi place is! I have to say my knowledge is limited as I tend to pick favorite restaurants and ALWAYS go to said restaurants. Let me know your favorite rolls, too. I'll eat/try anything!

Lastly, I'm not pretending to be a food expert let alone a sushi expert by any means. However, I do love to eat, and I love to eat really good food! Maybe I'll even try learning how to make sushi for a homemade sushi post? We'll see. I'm not in to food poisoning.

OK, well that's it for now. I give this blog post 0 mouthgasms as I didn't review anything. It is dinner time though. I wonder if I can find someone up for sushi?