Smith Roll

Yellowtail, Japanese amberjack, Seriola quinqueradiata "Hamachi" Inada

Yellowtail, Japanese amberjack, Seriola quinqueradiata "Hamachi" Inada

(The little fish is a Fugu. I’m talking about the bigger one.)



Add sushi rice and nori… “Smith Roll”…

Being particularly fond of Hamachi (a 1 year old “yellowtail” Japanese Amberjack), we have been in the habit of ordering it at the local Sushi restaurant. One day, while looking at the menu, we noticed that they had a “Tokyo Roll” that was tuna and avocado, and a San Francisco Roll that was salmon and avocado, and a California Roll that was tuna, crab, and avocado… The thought slowly formed… Could we get a Tokyo Roll, but made with Hamachi?

For about 2 years now, we have ordered this “special made” roll. It is particularly subtile and soft in the flavors and textures.

Tonight at dinner, we finally gave it a name. “Smith Roll”. So now, at our local Sushi Restaurant, we can order our favorite, not as an explanation of a variation on their menu, but by name.

If you are fond of sushi, and have not tried this particular combination, I do recommend it. But remember to tell your Sushi Chef its name ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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9 Responses to Smith Roll

  1. gnomish says:

    sounds good.
    i wouldn’t want to give up the crab, tho.
    love that chinese guacamole, too…lol
    and sometimes we see how many times we can make the waitress say ‘cleespy dock’ just for fun.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    As most of the “crab” these days is really crab flavored pollock, I’m less concerned about the “loss”… but yes, one of my favorite things to do is get one of the more “flavored” bits of sushi (like Kani) and alternate it with the more creamy flavor of Smith Roll… the contrast makes both more interesting…

  3. Verity Jones says:

    Yum. I am particularly fond of avocado. I’ve never tried Hamachi (sounds great tho’) and have limited experience with sushi, but only because of lack of opportunity. When I have a potential opportunity I usually find I’m with people who don’t like it.

  4. Pascvaks says:

    You know, of course, that over time the name will end up being something like “Semie San Roll”. Of course you do;-)

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks: “Smeessee San” is the more common ;-)


    Well, I’ve slowly converted a few folks by starting them on the kani, ebi, and unagi as “they are all cooked”… and with some tempura and / or terriaki as their main course. Then, a visit or two later, I’ll just casually say “here try this one, it’s better than the ebi” and it’s “down the hatch” and when they are enthusing about how good it is and asking what was it, then I’ll tell them it was raw fish ;-)

  6. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @ E.M. next time I’m in the southbay you will have to show me some good sushi places. While I love sushi, I’ve gotten food poisoning nearly half the time. Very discouraging. pg

  7. H.R. says:

    @P.G. Sharrow

    Something seems amiss. I have sushi 1-2 times a month for the past several years from many different places and I’ve never had so much as an ‘urp’ from my stomach.

    Seriously, something seems amiss if you’ve been nailed with food poisoning that many times. I’m really puzzled.
    On a lighter but OT note (but this is a lighter-side posting), I’ve got a corker of a travel story from today. (Just got in to Hilton Head Island an hour ago.)

    I was driving through Piketon KY, a still relatively poor area, and noticed the Piketon Medical Medical Bldg. It seemed to be a combo of urgent care, outpatient treatment, and a few medical practices. I’m not sure where Piketon’s hospital is or if they have a hospital.

    Next door – the very next lot – was a funeral home! That strikes my funny bone as an odd juxtaposition or a poor reflection on the medical skills next door, OK?

    I no sooner commented when my wife pointed out a grave monument company not 300 yards down the street. (Starting to smile at odd coincidences.)

    Then! About another 200 yards down on the other side of the road was the town(?) cemetery!

    OK. I’m thinking that maybe they don’t have the best medical care in Piketon but at least they can take great civic pride in their efficient process for cleaning up afterward.

    Doctor – oops!
    Send next door for funeral. Check.
    Pick up headstone on way to cemetery. Check.
    Burial. Check.

    It does make one wonder.

    BTW, anyone from that neck of the woods please fill me in on how that sequence came about, OK? I’m ‘dying’ to know ;o)

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    You need to do an ‘elimination diet’ type test for food allergies.

    The spouse has a very bad reaction to a particular shellfish, for example. I have very bad things from Garbonzo Beans…

    I’ve had sushi at a load of random places all over the bay area (including some pretty dismal ones) and only had an ‘issue’ once (and that was more a ‘taste is off, not eating more’ followed by a few unsavory burps…)

    It can be very species specific, or more generalized if you are reacting to something like the wasabi or seaweed…

    But if you are having a 50% reaction rate, something is wrong other than the fish quality…

    My suggestion: Pick a very high quality place. Sushi prepared in view with chef behind the counter and fish on display between chef and you at the sushi bar.

    Order Sashimi (i.e. ‘fish only’) not sushi. Now you have taken the rice (rice, special vinegar, etc.) and the nori (seaweed) out of the picture. Order just ONE kind of fish. (Salmon is pretty good and as most of it is farmed unlikely to have a variety of ‘free ocean fish’ exposures, tuna is an open ocean un-farmed fish and also fairly standard).

    Just the sashimi. Nothing else.

    (As a separate question, if you have had soy sauce other places, like Chinese foods, with no issues then it is unlikely you have a soy sauce reaction, but it is worth a separate test and / or using your own proven soy sauce until you have validated the fish is not an issue and other soy sauces are OK…)

    Now you wait.

    No problem? Fine. Next time, order the same fish as sushi (with rice and wasabi) at the same place.

    Now you wait.

    No problem? Fine. Not rice, soy sauce, wasabi, or THAT fish.

    Move to “fish number 2”. (There are likely several fish types you can have fairly quickly without a lot of doubt. For example, if you have cooked salmon or tuna sandwiches with no problem, most likely they are not an issue for you. Shrimp too if you have shrimp scampi without an issue… ) I would suggest going with hamachi as it is my favorite and most of it is farmed in Japan so of high quality too…

    Repeat, one fish at a time. Always the same place.

    (If you like, between ‘trials’ you can have a meal of the ‘proven ok’ items. That also serves as a cross check on general quality and cross contamination issues. So if you are having ‘the usual’ and get a minor reaction, it is more likely something that was on the cutting board just before your fish… Also, if you want to ‘pick up the pace’ you can do a ‘binary search’. Add, for example, 4 things at once. No reaction? All are fine. Have a reaction? Do just 2 of them. In the set that has issues again, you have 50 /50 odds… and you pick one… Also, for any thing where I’ve found a ‘probable reaction’ I will do a ‘retest’ about a week later on a small amount. Miserable, I know, but it confirms the “issue”… and sometimes there is no reaction so that says ‘it was a contaminant’…)

    At some point you will likely hit “a fish” that sets you off. That’s your problem child…

    FWIW, I would also suggest watching what the sushi chef makes just BEFORE your order comes up… If you have a ‘mild reaction’ to, oh Maguro, and just before your order was made he was slicing scallops on the board, you may have a scallop reaction of severe nature and just not know it, for example. That’s why I’m saying sit at the sushi bar…

    Most likely the cooked fish are not going to be a bacterial issue (so things like ebi -shrimp and unagi – eel ) so one simple “cross check” is to just stop in one night and have just them. If they are a problem, it’s likely the nori, wasabi, or rice that is setting you off… BUT, nori would be a very odd allergy, wasabi is essentially horseradish and largely both bacteria proof and not prone to allergies, and the “rice and vinegar” that make sushi rice would also be a very strange “issue”… So if you wanted a ‘safer start’ you could likely start with those and work your way up to the more ‘risky and raw’ fishes…

    IMHO, the most risky would be mackeral (that I think in California must be served cooked and / or frozen first to assure nothing living in it) and WILD salmon that in California must be frozen first to assure no parasitic worms are living in it…

    Next on the list would be ‘shell fish’. Many folks have food reactions to them, and they can have bacterial issues along with toxin bioaccumulation issues (red tide poisoning). So I’d leave all them for dead last.

    Right after them would be the other mollusks (squid, octopus, etc) and “strange things” like sea urchin and quail eggs on salmon roe and…

    In between would be the “other fin fish”. Rockfish and a laundry list of others…

    The bottom line is that my familiy have been to dozens of sushi places with zero issues all chosen at random; so either we have “cast iron stomachs” or you may have some odd reaction.

    One of my family, for example, has a severe “empty out” response to Ceasar Salad. We’re pretty sure it’s the anchovies… Doesn’t matter where it is made or by whom… and others who had the same product at the same time had no bad thing happen…

    We’re a family prone to allergic responses, so I’m pretty aware of them. If your family is not very prone, it’s really easy to not make the connection. Even for us, it was 3 or 4 times before we made the “Ceasar salad! Aha!” leap…

    At any rate, if you will be “in the area” let me know and I’m happy to go to some where I’ve been many times…

  9. Verity Jones says:

    Ah but the problem has been getting them into the restaurant in the first place. Philistines.

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