Sherman's Food Adventures: ROL Hand Roll Bar

ROL Hand Roll Bar

While on vacation, it gets a bit much dining on a variety of heavy foods.  Some people would like to group it all into "Western Eats" but I would like to point out that some Asian food is pretty greasy and overly filling too.  Hence, we need to break it down to the truly light meals that we crave to break up the heaviness.  Of course we can go grab some salad or some soup noodles.  Heck, the fallback is always Japanese, especially sushi.  However, we wanted something along those lines but a bit different.  That is why we settled on ROL Hand Roll Bar.  It wasn't too far of a drive from Anaheim and besides, we love Hello Nori up in Vancouver.

Before we got to the rolls, we ordered a few starters including the Furikake Fries.  These shoestring potatoes were uniformly super crispy.  Served hot and well-seasoned, the fries took on all the flavors of the seaweed as well as the nuttiness of the sesame seeds.  We really enjoyed them and could've had a few more orders.  We also had the Cucumber Salad that was topped with sesame seeds and fish roe.  There was a nice balance of tanginess and sweetness in addition to the crunch of the cucumber.  A truly appetizing dish.

For those who are not familiar, hand rolls are exactly what you would think it is - a roll with sushi rice and filling rolled by hand in nori.  Typically, one person will need 4-5 rolls minimum to feel satisfied.  For myself, I can do 7-8.   We began with the Salmon hand roll that was lightly dressed and mixed with sesame seeds. The natural sweetness of the salmon came through with only enough seasoning to compliment it.

Next was the Spicy Tuna Crunch that featured buttery mashed tuna with beautiful contrasting crunchy bits.  Once again, the spiciness and seasoning was just enough that there was some bite, but the sweetness and appealing fishiness came through.  Loved the warm seasoned rice and also of course, the crispy nori on the outside.  Speed is of the essence, one must eat this immediately to experience the contrast in textures and temperature. 

For all of us, we had the Scallop which was pretty loaded with large buttery pieces.  It was lightly dressed where it was creamy, yet not particularly strong in flavor.  The natural sweetness and taste of the sea permeated the entire roll.  Similarly with the other rolls, the warm chewy rice and the crispiness of the nori was a nice contrast to the delicate scallops.

As you can clearly see, there was quite a bit of tuna belly in the Negitoro. Normally, there isn't a dressing per se in this as it is purely tuna and green onions.  However, this worked in this application as the roll was more moist and if one wasn't going to dip it into any sauce, the dressing was necessary.  So beyond giving the roll some moisture, it was also a bit creamy with mild sweet notes.  The tuna was buttery and fresh.

Off to something cooked, we dived into the Spicy Crab that featured plenty of fluffy crab meat that was lightly dressed.  I liked that the spiciness was restrained since crab is rather delicate and can be overwhelmed by strong flavors (however, there are some cases where this works, such as Singaporean chili crab).  As such, I could taste the sweetness and aroma of the crab meat.

The other cooked roll we had was the Unagi.  It may have not looked like it, but there was a large piece of eel hidden within.  They torched it to order, so the butteriness of the meat and skin really came through.  There was appetizing caramelization and smokiness.  Naturally, there was the sweet and stickiness of the unagi sauce which meant we didn't need to dip this into anything.

Probably my favorite roll happened to be the last one I was served.  Buttery and soft, the Toro practically melted in my mouth.  It was so fatty and fresh where the clean taste of the sea really came through.  Once again, it was not tossed in anything that was overly strong.  Hence, there was seasoning in the form of sweetness and some umaminess, but not enough to mask the crisp natural flavor.

Lastly, we had the Yellowtail (Hamachi) which appeared to be not dressed in anything.  Good thing too as the inherent sweet fishiness was so pure and refreshing.  However, the delicate texture ensured that each bite was not exhaustive.  What a great finish to this multi-course hand roll meal.  The fact that they serve each one to order, it ensures the temperature of the filling and the rice are perfect.  Also, the crispy nori creates a great textural contrast.  Love this way of eating sushi.

The Good:
- Fresh and made-to-order served to you ASAP
- Quality ingredients
- Friendly service

The Bad:
- Can get pricey when you start ordering lots (because you want to keep eating!)
- Not the same experience if you don't snag a seat at the bar


Search this Site