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Monday, March 28, 2016

Rolling in the Deep...Fryer: Our Power Rankings of the Best LSU Rolls in Baton Rouge

by Sydney Blanchard & Blair Loup

I'm a Baton Rouge native, and if there's one thing I can say about this city, it's that its people are passionate. I theorize that living so close to the state's seat of government rubs off on us. Our opinions, on everything from LSU football to where to find the best sushi, are about as polarizing as our politics.

Thus, an idea was born.

We decided to do some research and find out which local sushi places had football themed rolls. At first, we thought we'd stumble across a few, but after poring over dozens of menus, we discovered that almost every sushi restaurant in town offers some play on an LSU inspired roll.

There are Tiger rolls, Geaux Tiger rolls, Death Valley rolls, LSU Tiger rolls, and of course, a number of LSU rolls.

It would have been nearly impossible to try to write about all of these, so we narrowed our focus on the LSU rolls and got to eating. One pattern emerged: at least one fried element is present in nearly all of these rolls.

Go figure.

Here's our rankings of the best LSU rolls this town has to offer, with photos for reference.

Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi

Shrimp, cream cheese, snow crab, red tuna, avocado at Rock-n-Sake (3043 Perkins Rd #A).

Rock-n-Sake's roll was by far the standout. Colorful, inventive, and tasty, we had no problem gobbling down this roll. This interpretation of the LSU roll consisted of battered shrimp and cream cheese in a traditional rice roll and snow crab topped with ruby red tuna and avocado slices.

Sushi Masa

Snowcrab, crawfish tails, cream cheese, and spicy mayo and eel sauce at Sushi Masa (5837 Essen Ln).

Sushi Masa's LSU roll fell in line with some of the other rolls on this list, but we think their interpretation was the best. Snowcrab, crawfish, and cream cheese combine in a rice roll that's battered, fried, and topped with spicy mayonnaise and eel sauce. The crunchy fried shell plays well with the cool cream cheese in the center.

Ichiban Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar

Fried oyster, snow crab, avocado, asparagus at Ichiban (5741 Essen Lane).
Ichiban's LSU roll confused then pleased our tastebuds. The combination of fried oyster, snow crab, avocado, and asparagus topped with crunchy and purple and gold sweet sauce was uniquely Louisiana. I'm not a huge oyster fan, but the choice to include fried oysters in a roll earned Ichiban some extra points.

Omi Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar

Snow crab, cream cheese, battered and fried at Omi (7951 One Calais Ave).

It was Blair's and my first time at Omi, and we were excited to see what it was all about. We were pretty disappointed this roll was so similar to Sushi Masa and Koi's LSU roll (snow crab, cream cheese, rice roll, battered and fried), but Omi's choice of batter made this one of our favorites. The texture of the batter reminded us of beignets, and it worked well with the other ingredients.

Drunken Fish

Spicy tuna, cucumber, salmon and eel at Drunken Fish (4410 Highland Road).

Blair and I were impressed with how different Drunken Fish's take on the LSU roll was compared with the others, but for us the flavor just wasn't there. Spicy tuna and cucumber nestle together in a rice roll topped with fresh salmon and barbecue eel. Drunken Fish was my spot in college, but this roll was a miss for me.

Koi Sushi Restaurant

Crawfish, Snow crab, cream cheese, all fried at Koi Sushi (Koi Sushi Restaurant).

Koi's interpretation fell in line with that of Omi and Sushi Masa, but the biggest turnoff for us was the value. This was the most expensive roll we had, and we couldn't figure out why. The components were the same as the LSU roll as Omi and Sushi Masa, but Koi's batter just didn't hold up as well as the others.

Do you agree with our rankings? Did we miss a must-try LSU roll? Let us know in the comments!