As I sit here writing this, it has been a couple of hours since I polished off an Ahi Lover Roll from Up Roll Café.
I am so tired. I’ve been sitting here — slowly “working,” feeling very much like a sloth — trying to figure out how a sushi roll could possibly make me feel this way. Sushi is one of those things I can eat at any time of the day. It’s light and bite-sized, and when you consider it, relatively healthy. (It isn’t that I didn’t get enough sleep last night, either. I clocked in almost seven hours, an anomaly for my usual five or less).
I think it has something to do with the sheer size of the roll that Up Roll Café is serving. It isn’t your typical temaki-style sushi. This one is more comparable to a burrito, like a thick, 3-inch-in-diameter burrito.
I love burritos (OMG, I’m coming for you next). But somehow, in sushi form, it’s just a bit much.
It started off with some excitement. Located on Halekauwila Street in Kakaako, it’s a couple of blocks away from Metro‘s office. So a little before lunch, staff writer Paige Takeya, social media manager Nicole Kato and I ventured off.
So, there we were, sitting inside the café’s very modern atmosphere after placing our orders (which is done by filling out a form where you mark everything you want in your sushi roll), surrounded by exposed cement walls, some of which had colorful chalk drawings. It felt promising.
I was looking forward to the ginger the menu promised in my Ahi Lover Roll, but I quickly found that it was the only thing I could taste. The bites that I took were invariably flavorful and bland. Sometimes, I got a hint of everything and other times, all I could pick out was cucumber.
It’s a sentiment echoed by staff writer Paige Takeya, who sampled the café’s Salmon Roll. It was, she says, almost impossible to taste the salmon and cream cheese because it was overpowered by sprouts, cucumber and takuwan.
Then there were the drinks. I ordered a Yuzu Jelly, Paige the Kinako Latte.
Mine was OK. The texture of juice and jelly (it really felt like Jell-O) combined nicely without being too weird, but I felt it could have used a bit more yuzu.
Paige, on the other hand, found that the “latte was basically milk and a hint, just a hint of kinako, like dust in the back of your throat.”
But I think it comes down to this: I have to adjust my expectations.
I’d really, really like to want to return for more. It’s nearby our office, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance.
If nothing else, minus my current fatigue, I did feel that what I ate was healthy. It didn’t have an overt amount of saucy mayo, and it really was the vegetables that stood out. Plus, the fish was soft, succulent and fresh.
So maybe I’ll return. Only this time, I’ll get it as a bowl instead, or maybe even as a salad — both options that are available.
UP ROLL CAFÉ
665 Halekauwila St., C101, Honolulu, HI
Phone number(909) 475-0099