Think Small, Please

I was in Naan for lunch one day last week.

Really I just wanted to reacquaint myself with the place--it had been about five years. Instead I was reintroduced to an issue that seems to plagued Dallas area sushi joints: carrying the "everything's bigger in Texas" notion too far.

Japanese chefs roll maki sushi into manageable sizes. Classic maki presentations combine visual appeal, fresh complementary flavors and simplicity. The guest should be able to pop each piece in one bite--and this is generally the case even when the roll includes two or three ingredients.

Here, on the other hand...

I guess I can understand why the guys in Legacy roll their "Naan Special" into massive coaster-sized rounds. After all, they're cramming crab, tuna, salmon, mango, lettuce and other stuff into one piece of maki. But their rainbow rolls also pushed traditional diameter limits. With each bite--and it requires several, clumps of rice and sushi innards fall to the plate, forcing you to scoop up the detritus.

Makes you look so sophisticated.

Naan isn't the only guilty restaurant, so I don't mean to pick on them specifically. What I'd like to know, though, is why they think so big?

Yes, the globalization of sushi has caused a general bastardization of the craft. Wherever a cuisine travels it becomes subject to local whims and impressive size often matters here. But the beauty of a roll is that marriage in one easy package of a few bright flavors and textures. If the construction splits apart, if you have to tear into it with two or three separate bites, the point is lost.

Might as well just pile the ingredients up into a tower.

Yeah--why don't you Diggler-minded sushi chefs out there start deconstructing your rolls and leave real maki to the traditionalists.


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