On a Roll: Exactly What is Big D's Defining Sushi?

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."

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.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Hanna Raskin
Contact: Hanna Raskin