The Dallas Fish Market, which offers discounted sushi to downtowners on Sundays and free sushi to everybody on Wednesdays, is now promoting its late-night sushi menu: A selection of specialty rolls, including the Dallas roll, is available until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
While few diners with cause to order sushi after midnight on the weekends are likely to give the question much thought, just what is a Dallas roll? At the Dallas Fish Market, it's a rice-less combination of spicy tuna, himachi, crab meat and avocado, wrapped in cucumber. But a "Dallas roll" order is unlikely to produce the same preparation elsewhere in town; there's remarkably little unanimity among local sushi restaurateurs and connoisseurs as to what defines the city's namesake roll.
Rolls named for cities typically showcase an ingredient associated with the region: That's why Philadelphia rolls come with cream cheese, and California rolls are made with avocados. While avocado figures into a number of local rolls sold under the Dallas name, there's no single ingredient that shows up in every recipe.
Sushi House serves a Dallas roll made with baked yellowtail, yamagobo, masago and cucumber. Ku Sushi's Dallas roll includes shrimp tempura, avocado and crab stick. And Sushi Zushi's created a Dallas roll from tuna, yellowtail salmon, snow crab and avocado "wrapped in a fine sheet of daikon radish."
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Interestingly, while Dallasites struggle to translate their hometown into raw fish, New Yorkers have it all figured out. A "Dallas Roll" means the same thing from Westport, Connecticut, to Brooklyn: Spicy tuna, shrimp and avocado. Something to remember next time you're at 81st and Amsterdam.