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how do you roll?

June 4, 2010

I've been a patron of Maki "how do you roll?" since they first opened. (They were originally called Maki, but changed their name recently. It's hard to get used to the name change, and I hope it catches on.) Their concept is essentially the same as Subway or Chipotle; you pick what you want and they make it for you on the spot. You can either choose "traditional" (seaweed/nori) or "modern" (soy paper). Then you choose your meats, which include the option for chicken, beef, crab or shrimp if you don't eat raw fish. Then you choose your "veggies" which includes cream cheese and fruit options (even though those aren't "veggies"). After the roll is filled and cut with their amazing slicing machine, you can opt to add a topping like masago, "crunch", crab mix, etc. and then add a sauce if you'd like.

I think they have a great concept and company philosophy too, which makes eating there even more enjoyable. The owners have put a lot of thought into their branding (or at least hired someone who did a phenomenal job at it) as you'll see if you ever have the chance to dine there. It really looks like a huge chain restaurant, but so far there's only 2 locations, both of which are here in Austin. They have more franchises opening and who knows, maybe they'll be a huge chain in a few years. They've certainly got a good product and a lot of potential. (If I could afford a franchise myself, I'd get one. That's how much I love what they do.)

I absolutely love that I can get sushi the way I want without feeling like I am hassling the server to leave things out of pre-defined roll options. Plus, if I have a roll I like elsewhere I can almost always re-create it here.

Typically, I order 2 rolls for Dan and I to share. Dan likes to let me pick all the ingredients for us and I think it's fun creating different rolls for him to try. Gaetano loves to pick the ingredients in his roll. He usually trades us 2 pieces of his roll for one of each of our two rolls.

Salmon sushi roll

Gaetano chose salmon, tofu skin, cream cheese and mandarin oranges with the scallop topping (which has masago and green onion in it).

Tilapia sushi roll

For our first roll, I chose tilapia which was new to me for sushi. It had asparagus, jalapeño, and mandarin oranges. For the topping I chose masago and they provided a lot more than usual. We were pleasantly surprised at the flavor of this combination and even more surprised to find that tilapia was delicious and didn't have any fishy taste to it whatsoever.

Tuna sushi roll

For our second roll, I chose tuna with cream cheese, green onion, pineapple and scallop topping. This could be my new favorite roll. (I need to have it along side my current favorite, which is very similar: tuna with mango, cream cheese and green onion and masago for topping.)

Back when I first started eating at how do you roll, I used to eat 2 rolls all by myself! Sometimes, I'd split a 3rd roll with Dan or Gaetano. Now, a single roll is more than enough. It's amazing to me how things have changed.

One thing that hasn't changed is I love to dip my sushi in ponzu sauce (which is typically a soy sauce with lemon, oil, and sometimes garlic and green onion), which they have readily available. If you haven't tried ponzu sauce, give it a try instead of soy sauce. It's so much better than plain old soy sauce.

I'm sure you'll see other rolls from "how do you roll?" here in the future. I usually try to make one new combination each visit so there will surely be more rolls to share. At the very least, I hope this inspires you to try a new roll at your favorite sushi restaurant. I highly recommend rolls with fruit – they're so good...

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