Monday, April 18, 2011

Sumo Roll, One and Done

Nothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to food. Nori Sushi Bar & Grill, located in eastern San Diego County, demonstrated that in the recent months.

This restaurant is a considerable trek off the beaten path. You'll find it in the city of Alpine, some 40 miles east of San Diego proper, in a large shopping center across the way from Viejas Casino.

The item of interest (for me, at least) at Nori Sushi was the barely advertised Sumo Roll. There's no mention of it on the menu. It's not referenced anywhere inside the restaurant. If you happened to stumble upon their website you might have noticed it, advertised as the "Sumo Roll Challenge." 

You get 45 minutes to consume a nearly 5 pound deep-fried monster sushi roll. Succeed, and it's free with a t-shirt. Fail to conquer the beast and you'll pay $36 plus tax. 

Since there was little information about this challenge, I decided to inquire about it with the sushi chef on hand that evening in June 2010. Apparently the owner of the restaurant came up with the idea for the challenge. That was simple enough. 4 people had attempted it before me, and they all failed by a wide margin.

Because the Sumo Roll was still unbeaten, I was given the option of ordered it deep-fried or normal style. I went with the normal roll just because I don't particularly enjoy deep-fried anything. Besides, this way it would weigh a bit less and pack fewer calories. Why not make things a bit easier?

It took awhile to prepare the roll, but once it was brought out I proceeded to throttle the entire platter in 22 minutes. The sushi chef refused to believe I had actually eaten it (come on, I wasn't even that fast), insisting instead that I must have fiddled with the timer or hidden some of the product. Restaurant patrons who were watching me came to my defense. My success was recorded at 25 minutes.

They were amazed that someone finally finished their challenge roll. I was told that I could come back and attempt the deep-fried version on another visit. However, future challengers would no longer be allowed to order the standard roll.

How the times change... as of March 2011, I discovered through a friend interested in tackling the Sumo Roll that the restaurant had canceled the challenge. Dreams of a future deep-fried challenge went up in smoke.

Maybe they'll bring it back. And, hopefully, they'll advertise it more aggressively next time around.


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