Spice is Nice: Which Spicy Tuna Roll Takes the Crown?
In this week's "Food Fight!" we compare spicy tuna rolls from three sushi restaurants.
The spicy tuna roll is a great choice for people just starting to eat sushi. The texture is firm and reminiscent of steak. The flavor is clean and not fishy at all. The spicy tuna roll is delicious and a staple for regular sushi lovers.
Blue Sea: 13419 Olive Blvd., Chesterfield
Blue Sea is a simple family restaurant with a steady stream of customers, friendly service and a casual atmosphere. Bamboo room dividers and ceramic pottery decorate the small dining room. The flavor of the spicy tuna roll is fresh and clean. The spice is at the right level, and there is a distinction in flavor from the fish and spicy mayonnaise.
The good: The spicy tuna roll was actually spicy, which is a challenge sometimes. The tuna was fresh, and the flavors in the roll distinct. They were not only flavorful, but tightly and beautifully rolled.
The bad: There aren't really any negatives for the spicy tuna roll. However, the restaurant is a more casual establishment and is better suited for lunch than dinner.
Sapporo Sushi: 15583 Manchester Rd., Ballwin
Sapporo Sushi, a small neighborhood restaurant, was buzzing with customers when I visted. Some regulars stayed for a meal, while others stopped in for their usual takeout. The service was courteous, but a little spotty at times (I need my pickled ginger). The platter of sushi was inviting, but the different rolls were not identified by the server. The spicy tuna roll had a deep red hue and a nice spicy kick. The tuna inside the roll had a very fresh, chilled texture. The rolls when dipped in soy sauce fell apart and became slightly more salty—they were on the salty side to begin with.
The good: The visual presentations was nice, and the tuna had just the right amount of heat. The texture of the fish was noticeably fresh.
The bad: The rolls were not rolled tightly enough and kept unravelling in the soy sauce. The flavor of the rice was a bit too salty.
Nippon Tei: 14025 Manchester Rd., Manchester
Nippon Tei is a hidden jewel in Manchester. The décor and lighting are perfect for date night, and the staff is attentive and friendly. The vibe was definitely welcoming. The plate presentation was eye-catching with a lot of attention to detail; it included scallion flowers, avocado and oshinko slices beside the plump roll of tuna. Despite ordering the spicy tuna roll, I believe I received just the tuna roll, because it wasn't spicy. There was a hint of panko bread crumbs in the roll--it was unclear if that was for flavor or filler. The rolls were large and flavorful, but I would have preferred the clean and spicy taste of tuna.
The good: The decor, atmosphere, and staff—especially Bryan the manager—were incredibly inviting. The talent Chef Ernersto has in developing and extracting flavors was evident in the roll. I would definitely go back to try more.
The bad: Despite the different flavors in the roll, the fresh, clean spicy tuna flavor was missing.
The winner: Blue Sea wins for the spicy tuna roll because of its fresh, clean flavors and beautiful rolls.
Next week, we'll review guacamole. Who has the best guacamole in West County? Let us know in the comments.