4721 Airport Blvd.
Mobile, AL 36608
I usually review some sort of ethnic restaurant around the holiday season. This year is no exception. While the still-absent Chinese buffet taunts the holiday shoppers, forcing them to (gasp!) order from the menu, the gluttonous are fading. Never fear, hungry shoppers. There’s still a way to order all you can eat without making use of the sneeze guard. For that, we are turning this week’s attention to See-Wee-Roll.
It seems another town away from my Midtown palatial estate, but it’s not a far drive to University and Airport. Next to Chick-fil-A, the converted Applebee’s is a little hard to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It was my treat that day, and my very hungry friend Walker spotted the sign as we drove around the shopping center eyeing Al’s Hot Dogs and the recently vacated Jerusalem Cafe.
At our seats it was explained we can order as much of anything from the menu we want. However, we may have to pay a little extra if we don’t finish a good portion of each item. I’m not certain where the line is drawn, but it’d be odd for anything to be left on the table with Walker at my side.
He got the party rolling with a miso soup, a taste of which I was not afforded, but he lapped it up as I enjoyed the snow crab salad. This healthy portion of snow crab was heavy on the mayo, something I knew Walker wouldn’t appreciate, but slices of avocado broke up the pink-and-white color scheme while the masago topping really helped my feelings. Pretty darn good.
Up next was a pair of crabmeat rangoons. Thankfully it was only two, as we had a lot of ground to cover. They were good, but not as good as the gyoza. Our dumplings were fried and seemed to have a light dusting of batter for a bit of crust on the crispy wonton. Definitely worth the trip. Both of these items had a sweet dipping sauce in a tiny reservoir at the corner of the plate. So far, I am liking this place more than I expected.
The entree section is loaded with fried rice, teriyaki, hibachi and all manner of yakisoba noodles, but we were there for the sushi. Starting with nigiri, we ordered two of every one that caught our attention. The shrimp, tuna, white tuna, salmon and red snapper came out together. Walker seemed to follow my every move, shadowing my chopsticks as if he were fearful I’d take two in a row, leaving him out of an experience.
I needed the tuna in me first. The shrimp were really good, but not as good as the salmon. The white tuna was a unique one for me, not as bold as regular tuna. It was something I could give or take. I also don’t recall having ever had red snapper sushi, but it was pretty mild. Looking back, I regret not having ordered the straight-up masago, but you live and learn.
Next came the rolls. The spicy tuna roll was a bit of a measuring stick for this section of the menu. That was my way of testing my wasabi/soy sauce mix. I had it dialed in about three pieces deep of the six that came out. It may be a boring order, but we were easing into it.
The Rainbow roll was expertly rolled with tuna, salmon, shrimp, red snapper and avocado atop a California base. Again, we weren’t looking for something crazy at this point. We were leaning more toward something familiar to get a good look at what they do here.
I was stuffed, but Walker wanted one more from the specialty menu. I had to veto the Crazy Monkey roll. It’s a fried banana crunchy roll topped with spicy crabmeat. This sounded more like a dare than an option, but if you’ve had it, let me know. A good look at the rest of the page and some polite arguing led us to the Fire Dragon roll. I was looking for a signature roll with lots of masago, but there were none to be found. Our waitress happily added it for an extra half-dollar.
So this roll has shrimp tempura and oshinko on the inside, spicy tuna and green onion on the outside, and let’s not forget our added masago. I had zero idea what oshinko was, but was told by the chef via our waitress, Kaylan, that it’s sort of a pickled radish. It tasted a good bit like a tough pickle, so I was kind of lukewarm on this one. It may have been daikon or something similar, but the pickling just doesn’t soften it enough for my taste. However, I’ll say it was not misrepresented.
Herein lies the rub. It’s all-you-can-eat sushi, and though he wasn’t paying for it, Walker is the kind of man who isn’t going to leave a piece on the plate. I couldn’t let him be the hero, so we suffered together through that last roll, pride doing us in. I wish we’d saved the best for last, but we did not. It was a struggle getting to the car, especially for Walker. I joked we’d have been better off in a handicap spot.
Is this place the best sushi in town? Absolutely not. I’d say it’s better than grocery store sushi and far less expensive. Including my iced tea, our total was $35.40 before tip. The staff is young, but our waitress was a pleasure to deal with. The ambiance is a converted Applebee’s. This isn’t a nice date spot, but see it for what it is and you’ll have fun.
I wish we’d had one of these when I was in college. I’d go back tomorrow for lunch and gladly pony up $15 for some good appetizers and a piece or two of nigiri. Remind me to never order that much again.
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