Saturday, September 19, 2009

California Roll Factory Review

Four or five stars? I decided on five because what California Roll Factory does, it does very well and occupies a much needed, but often neglect\ed segment of the sushi restaurant world--the value segment.

If you are looking for the tastiest, best fish and exotic seafoods handpicked by the sushi chef in the morning, you've come to the wrong place. As mentioned, this is the place for rolls, and you'll find plenty of these in unique and esoteric combinations. Can't find the combination you want or have a great idea for a roll that you're sure will take the culinary world by storm while in a drunken yet contemplative state? Just tell the sushi chef what ingenious madness you've come up with and he'll make it. You even get to name it and have it put on the menu if it proves popular enough. That's how most of the hundreds and I mean hundreds of available rolls end up on the menu.

I've yet to see another sushi restaurant has the same concept, let customers invent rolls, put it up on the walls and whatever sticks, sticks.

However that alone won't get five stars in my book. The reason California Roll Factory gets five stars is not only due to the unique concept, but because it offers a lot of sushi at a good price, In other words, it's a good value and that deserves merit and stars--five to be exact.

California Roll Factory doesn't skimp on the fish, I am continuously surprised at how much fish ends up in the rolls, when you order something with tuna and salmon in a roll, they don't cut out half of the fish to make it the same quantity as you would get if you ordered a simple tuna roll. No, they just make the roll bigger, and so when you have multiple ingredients, the rolls get huge, so large that it would take considerable skill to fit a piece in your mouth. Yes of course sushi is meant to be bite sized, but CRF doesn't pretend to be a traditional Japanese sushi restaurant and so doesn't care about the usual rules of sushi. I'm sure some of the combinations would horrify a traditional sushi chef, no this isn't your top level elitist sushi place where you can get kicked out for requesting watsabe on the side (such dictator-style sushi places are the fad in New York now, since the sushi chef already puts watsabe in the sushi, of course he'll kick you out if you ask for more since that'll destroy the perfect sushi he's created for you).

It's not a top quality, expensive sushi place and doesn't pretend to be. Instead, it is a California-Japanese fusion sushi restaurant offering loads of average quality sushi (but in unique and creative ways) for a cheap price. Not all sushi places need to be the ones that fly in fish from Hawaii every morning and offer only the very best fish. There definitely should be a category of restaurant that offers good value and good fun. California Roll Factory fits that segment and dominates like Wal-Mart does the cheap retail market. Not all of us can afford top quality sushi, nor do we want to spend that much money all the time. Sometimes, especially when you're drunk, you just want A LOT of good but not great sushi at a price that you won't regret the next morning when you get sober. For those who find themselves in that situation, California Roll Factory is the place, five stars for sure.

Review for Yelp

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