Friday, September 21, 2012

Restaurant Odyssey Stop #1 - Sushi Rock

True confession time: Part of the reason Aaron and I took so long to get started on our pilgrimage is that we knew we had to start out at Sushi Rock, and we weren't really looking forward to it. We'd never been there, but we hadn't heard great things about it. However, it's remained open for almost two years in a prime location that has previously struggled to keep restaurants so last week we decided to get it over with.

The Short North location of Sushi Rock is actually their third; there are two in the Cleveland area. They have a pretty good happy hour with $4 martinis, $4 maki rolls and reduced prices on other drinks and small plates. Now, you should know that the happy hour menu is only available in the bar or lounge area, and there is no happy hour on Wednesdays because that's "Tsunami Night," with half-price sushi. We were there on a Monday and we preferred lounge seating so we indulged in some happy hour specials. However, we were not able to sit in the "VIP" section (apparently you can apply to become a VIP and then I guess you get to sit in that section of the lounge?). They also have some nice patio seating, and although we sat indoors, the doors were open to the patio which was really lovely on this late summer evening.

Oddly enough, they serve not only sushi, but also steaks (apparently the name Sushi Rock is meant to signify "surf and turf"). We're saving our steak meal for Hyde Park across the street so we stuck mostly with seafood and sushi-type dishes.

Not a great pic of the menu, but there you have it
We started off with calamari in a light tempura batter and a sweet and spicy sauce. Aaron is pretty picky about calamari but he declared it a winner, and I agree. We also got a spicy tuna roll which, while "better than grocery store sushi" (per Aaron), had a weird texture. The tuna was minced or ground or something. Also, the soy sauce on the tables is the low-sodium version. I don't mind that, but I think it's odd that they don't have both options. I read a review early on that someone requested "real" soy sauce and was told that they had none.

Thunder Roll (top), Golden Dragon Roll, Parmesan Truffle Fries

The true sushi/sashimi menu isn't very extensive and we opted to get "Big Rolls." Aaron had the Thunder Roll - soft shell crab, cayenne pepper, tuna and avocado with a sweet chili glaze. It wasn't horrible, and he ate it all, but the chewiness of the crab was annoying. I chose the Golden Dragon - tempura shrimp, spicy tuna, salmon, crab, avocado, masago and mango. I was hoping for a nice sweet and spicy combo, and it had that, but to a lesser degree than I was hoping. Still ... not bad. And just to mix things up we ordered some Parmesan Truffle Fries - a tasty treat.

The verdict: better than we expected, and we would not automatically nix it, but with so many fantastic places to dine in Columbus, Sushi Rock won't be at the top of our list.


  1. I hate sub-par sushi. It's such a let-down. And texture totally matters!

  2. I don't eat the sushi, but those fries look good!


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