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Sushi: Tradition vs. Fusion

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Many of you may be familiar with Mr. Delicious and his famous cheesecakes, but did you know that Mr. Delicious also runs sushi? So far we have been piecing together an eclectic menu that combine some elements of tradition japanese with new fusion recipes that we either have modified from another roll, or just simply made up.

On run the sushi nights reservation only, and manage to pack the house every time. We start off at 7pm with a glass of wine and the first of two plates. We put two slices of five different rolls on each plate, and then send out a second plate of two slices of five other rolls. 20 pieces total, with two glasses of wine and a specialty cheesecake(i.e. pineapple sambal, strawberry green peppercorn, etc.), all included in the flat 35 dollar cost.

The issue that I run into is that we have a number of people who enjoy the fusion rolls, and want to see some more of the crazier items that we have come up with. And then there is the group that complain that we need to be more traditional with it.

Personally, I do not want to lose our creative edge by having to stay within the traditional styles. I am simply curious to know what the Egulleters have to say about such things.

Here's a copy of our last menu.

Dynamite Tuna Maki

fresh ahi tuna, dynamite sauce, scallions, cucumber

Chili-Lemon Salmon Oshi-Zushi

chili-lemon salmon, asparagus

Blackened beef maki

blackened beef, wasabi crème fraiche, tossed spinach

Veggie Maki

grilled portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, dijon balsamic viniagrette

68 + 1 Maki

crab, avocado, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts reverse rolled and topped with eel

Aburi-style marlin nigiri


Etoufee Maki

shrimp, crab, etoufee sauce


torched red snapper, jalapeno, mirin aioli, reverse rolled and topped with toasted panko

Stoplight Maki

tamago(egg omelet), avocado, crab

Frushi Maki

pineapple, rasberry sauce, strawberries, wild blue sauce

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It would depend what my mood was. If I was in the mood for "sushi", I would probably want to go somewhere more authentic. However, I also appreciate the sort of sushi listed on your menu. I have had some really creative, nontraditional, and tasty rolls before. I would say that if you are getting a lot of business with your current menu, you should keep it since it suits your demographic.

I would liken the more creative sushi to the less traditional pizza options. If I am in the mood for pizza, I want a simple thin crust pizza. Tomato sauce, mozarella, and some basil. I don't want a ton of toppings, a white pizza, bbq sauce, etc. If I am going out not expecting or craving "pizza", I can certainly have an enjoyable meal with the more eclectic pizza options. Same thing with other cuisines, like sushi.

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If it is good, then bring it on. There is plenty of room for creativity in the sushi world as there is everywhere. Traditional is great. There will always be a place for classics, but why not innovate so long as it works? I had outstanding Spanish inflected sushi in Madrid at Kabuki Wellington.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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To be fair to the traditional sushi crowd, I do throw in items like the uni gunkan, the ame ebi, and a few other odds and ends. We run an almost completely different menu every month. I also throw in, some traditional and some fusion, oshi-zushi style rolls, shikai-maki style rolls, hand rolls, and chirashi-zushi from time to time. Ill try and get some photos of the sushi we roll tonight from that menu that i posted at the top.

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Would there be any practical purpose to occasionally do a sort of 'split-level' menu choice, so that traditionalists could be happy without anything they would experience as jarring, and folks who like their flavors unfettered by what others are used to could do the same?

I'm okay with virtually anything on a sushi plate if it's fresh and it tastes good and it's not actively trying to get away while I'm trying to eat it...but I can see how some experiments would be startling to other parties. Sushi's a huge subject, with room to make everyone happy, surely?


Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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