Friday, December 6, 2013

REVIEW: Sushi With Gusto's Dragon California Roll

When my mom asked me if I wanted sushi from Woodman's for dinner when she was going grocery shopping one day, I was a little reluctant to say yes. I mean, sushi? From a grocery store? That's almost as bad as GAS STATION sushi. Which I'm guessing is just plain godawful. Indigestible. But Mom seemed excited enough to have it, and I just wouldn't have felt good saying "no" to her. So here we are... Grocery Store Sushi. Mmm.
I wanted to play it safe, so I asked my mom to stay away from anything tempura-style (aka fried) or made with spicy mayo, since eating those types of rolls and saying they're healthy for you is like eating carrot cake and saying THAT'S healthy for you too. You know, since it's made with vegetables. So Mom brought home this Dragon California Roll for me from Sushi With Gusto.
Sushi with Gusto... Hmm... I know what GUSTO means- I'm not stupid -but being that one of my favorite movies ever is Ratatouille I can't help but feel that this brand's name is spelled as "Sushi With Gusteau," making me feel like I'm eating rolls from a new frozen food line created by the said cartoon chef. Well- technically created by his no good sous-chef, but you get what I mean. Unless you've never seen the movie. Because in that case you don't get what I mean.
Anyway, a 8 oz. container of sushi costs $7.49
Now, let's get rollin'! Heheh...

With white rice, one Dragon California Roll contains 440 calories, 6g of total fat, 25mg of cholesterol, 568mg of sodium, 73g of total carbohydrates, 4g of dietary fiber, and 24g of protein.

This is a fairly large, long roll of sushi, with thin slices of avocado on the outside and imitation crabmeat, sliced cucumber, and even more avocado on the inside. For all of you who turn your noses up at the idea of eating sushi because it's "raw fish," relax- everything that ought to be cooked is cooked in this roll. This sushi roll is also packaged with pickled ginger, wasabi paste, a teeny tiny lemon wedge, and a packet of soy sauce. Yeah, a little garnish never hurt- I can dig it. By the way, who here likes ginger? I enjoy it moderately, I guess, but the taste and smell remind me too much of Lemon Pledge, keeping me from going hog wild over it.
I thought this roll was called "Dragon" because it was supposed to be spicy- you know, like a dragon's fire or whatever -but it wasn't at all. I then deduced they call this a "Dragon Roll" because of the avocado on top, which is green, like a dragon's back......? I dunno. That's the best guess I got. Because this roll was so UNspicy it just COULDN'T have been made with the intention of being so.
For all the things said about supermarket sushi, this roll was actually very fresh. My mom said that an Asian guy is actually there by the deli, just making them rolls all day. Which is pretty reassuring- I apologize if this comes off as too "stereotypical" or "profiling" or whatever you call it, but sushi made by an Asian guy is bound to be a lot better than sushi made by some American guy. Come on- like you want to walk into an authentic sushi bar and be greeted by a big, "Howdy ya'll! What carn I git fer ya'? I found a fresh squirrel on that there side of the road- roasted the critter up right fresh, I did." I. Don't. Think so.
I'm not a big fan of California rolls- they're just too bland for me. They're a beginner's roll, you know? But for California roll standards, this was pretty good. Yeah, I had to add soy sauce and wasabi after a couple pieces plain, but that's what most people do anyway. The addition of avocado on the top gave the roll an extra creamy texture and avocado-y taste. But I think there was just too MUCH avocado. You've got the stuff on the top and the stuff inside. I wouldn't find this much of a problem if the taste of cado' didn't overshadow the crab's flavor, which it really did here. The crab was actually really sweet and tasty when I ate some of the clumps by themselves, but you couldn't taste them at all when eaten with all that avocado. Either there needs to be more crab, or less avocado. The avocado wasn't bad at all- I would've just preferred a more equal distribution of the flavors. And the cucumber? Meh. I even forget that was the third ingredient of the roll's filling. While it adds a nice crunch to things, cucumber isn't exactly a party of flavor.
As for convenience of eating, this roll needs some work. It's sliced pretty thin, making it very easy for each piece to fall apart in your chopsticks. The avocado on top also doesn't stick at all, so I was rarely able to eat any of it with the rest of its piece. It couldn't be that hard to slice the roll into larger, thicker pieces, right? I guess it's the taste that counts, but still...
So, to conclude, this roll's quality really caught me by surprise. It wasn't filled with brown avocado or limp cucumber- the ingredients looked fresh and tasted fresh. The avocado was creamy and delicious, and the imitation crab- while mainly overshadowed by the aforementioned cado' -was rather sweet and could have even passed for REAL crab. The cucumber added a solid crunch, and the white rice was cooked to be nice and sticky. The roll could've been sliced thicker, which I think will make it easier to pick up all in one piece and keep the avocado topping from falling off, but other than that, this was a solid, tasty, quite enjoyable roll of sushi. Honestly, I would rather buy a different roll if we were to pick up sushi from the supermarket again, but that's just me being too sophisticated for the California roll. Maybe if this roll was a REALLY special California roll, I'd buy it again, but it wasn't any better than the ones you can find anywhere. I suppose that's saying a lot though, since you wouldn't think supermarket sushi would be as good as regular sushi. But this was a fine exception.
I'd give Sushi With Gusto's Dragon California Roll a 7.5/10.

Supermarket sushi, eh? YOU ever try it? Write your thoughts down in the comments below!

Till' then, this has been RiRi ri-porting!

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