At face value, the Broadway Roll at Haru Sushi in New York City doesn’t seem too crazy. Tuna, cucumber, and avocado are pretty standard, right? Maybe, but this roll is topped with gold leaf and caviar! Ridiculously fancy! You can eat your golden sushi roll in the lights of Times Square, safe in the knowledge that your sushi is the fanciest of them all.
Spam Musubi is a beloved snack and lunch in Hawaii, made by placing a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with a strip of dried seaweed. Whether it’s sushi or not is a contentious issue, but since it mimics the shape and some of the ingredients, we count it. Also, it sounds amazing. You can find it in L.A. at the Aloha Cafe if you can’t make it out to the islands, and you can also make it yourself.
You might not think that Mexican and Japanese really go together that well, but once you try a sushi burrito from the Jogasaki food truck in California, you might be singing a different tune. Most of their dishes are available in burrito form, and are essentially an uncut sushi roll wrapped up in a soy wrapper or a tortilla. They have a lot of basics flavors but the one that stood out was the Jogasaki 1A, filled with crab meat, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, and BBQ eel wrapped with soy paper. Burritos + sushi = ridiculous awesomeness.
Flickr/ Brown Guacamole
One of the fascinating things about sushi in the US is how chefs have made many of the rolls reflective of the food culture of the area. One great example is crawfish sushi, using the small freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters found mainly in the South. You can find crawfish sushi in several southern sushi joints, such as the Alfredo Roll at Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Memphis. The roll consists of crawfish, fried white fish, fish eggs, and chives.
Any restaurant run by Guy Fieri is bound to be ridiculously over the top. The Jackass Roll at his restaurant Tex Wasabi’s in Santa Rosa is perfect example of Fieri’s love of barbeque, pork products, and over the top recipes. It’s made of barbecued pork, rice paper, sushi rice, avocado, natural cut fries, and garlic chili mayo sauce. So if you’ve ever wanted your barbecue in sushi form, mystery solved. This is where you go.
Pubbelly’s Porkbelly and Clams roll sounds like a crazy “everything but the kitchen sink” situation. The Miami restaurant combines barbecued pork belly with kimchi coleslaw and fried clams into one delicious roll. We’ve never seen a combo quite like this! Pork with seafood is never a bad idea. Also kimchi is amazing, end of story.
Blue C Sushi
What summer picnic would be complete without some potato salad? If you’re feeling creative and are near a Blue C Sushi on the West Coast, maybe you can try out their Loaded Baked Potato Roll instead! Using gunkan, also known as Battleship maki because of the shape, Blue C fills the seaweed wrapper with Japanese potato salad and tops it with bacon, cheddar, sour cream, chives, bonito, and caviar. SOLD.
Yelp/ Jason G
NeMesis took some creative license with their Tuscan Sushi. While there is no rice or nori, prosciutto acts as the wrapper and is stuffed with mascarpone and gorgonzola dolce cheese and then topped with figs. These little sushi-shaped bites, which live under the “Sexy Nibble” category, are apparently one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
Blue C Sushi
Blue C Sushi has a lot of great sushi selections with neat ingredients, which is why they made our list twice! The second raved-about selection that’s totally nontraditional is their Tuna BLT Roll. Basically, it’s like a BLT but with tuna and in a sushi roll. How could you miss? This roll scoots by on the “sushi belt” that travels around the restaurant and is often the first to go, so grab it fast if you see it!
One thing is clear: The combination of Mexican and Japanese cuisine is a hit, and Taka Taka Mexican Sushi in New York City is proof. The restaurant offers a full menu of fusion dishes, but the one most likely to knock your socks off is the Towi Roll, which contains thinly-sliced jalapeño rolled over grilled jack cheese with tempura shrimp, avocado, and chipotle sauce. Basically sounds like sushi jalapeño poppers, which sounds like the best late night snack EVER.
We love bison. We love sushi. Why not have both? The Nature Boy's WOOOOO–shi BuffalOOOOO–shi Roll from The Cowfish in North Carolina not only is fun to say, it’s a crazy combination of sautéed chipotle bison, fried green tomato, grilled onions, feta cheese, and tempura flakes. Topped with fresh green tomato, chipotle aioli, diced tomato, red onion, and jalapeño peppers, this fusion of flavors is a seriously spicy and delicious departure from your standard sushi roll.
So you might be in the mood for some lean protein but you don’t want fish. Maybe you should check out the other other other white meat: bugs! How Do You Roll in Austin, Texas came up with the Spicy Insectopia Roll, which is filled with crickets dressed in sesame oil and teriyaki, cucumber and jalapeño, and topped with marinated mealworms and tempura flakes. This sounds more like a collection of garden pests and less like lunch, but apparently bugs are super healthy for you: mealworms are 50 percent protein and contain as many omega-3 fatty acids as fish.
One of the most famously ridiculous sushi ingredients is blowfish, otherwise known as fugu. The organs of the blowfish contain tetrodotoxin, a poison which is reportedly 1,000 times more deadly than cyanide. If the fish is not properly sliced, the poison can cause breathing trouble, dizziness, paralysis, and death, and most people who eat it report some numbness and tingling in the mouth. If you still really want to try it out, The Kitano in New York City offers the very rare fish on a seasonal basis.
The absolute weirdest sushi out there has to be shirako. Also called “cod milt” in the U.S. (so as not to frighten diners), shirako is cod sperm. It is most usually served “gunkan-style” or plain, and is described as “custard–like.” When you think about it, caviar is the female fish version of this, so it makes sense to use the male fish parts too. Right? Maybe. Hamasaku in Los Angeles serves shirako seasonally, so if you’re interested, get in there around February to get your sperm sushi fix.