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Rollapalooza Gets Veggie Sushi Right

By Staff in Food on Nov 11, 2010 5:40PM

RollaPalooza.jpg Creating sushi is an art. Each piece should be as pleasing to the palate as it is to the eye. Traditional sushi can rely on the vibrant colors and textures of fish to achieve this. Vegetarian sushi, on the other hand, often falls flat and seems like an afterthought in many restaurants. Lakeview’s Rollapalooza breaks with the usual, providing a menu of vegetarian sushi that provides a feast to the eyes and the tummy.

The problem most vegetarians have in sushi restaurants is the slim selection. Most places only offer two or three uninspiring choices. Rollapalooza serves up nearly a dozen. There are basic standards like avocado, asparagus, and cucumber as well as more creative offerings featuring shitake mushrooms, cilantro, and oshinko. In addition, veggie lovers will find quite a few appetizers and salads to satisfy their meat-free cravings.

On a recent visit to Rollapalooza, we decided to take an extended tour of their vegetarian menu. The seaweed salad was generously portioned. It featured a mound of briny seaweed tossed with fresh pickle and a playfully sweet vinaigrette dressing. It could easily have been shared by two people. The avocado asparagus cream cheese roll had just the right balance of flavors and textures. The shitake avocado roll was equally satisfying. The real standout in the meal was the fittingly-named “green arrow” roll - a combination of cilantro, avocado, asparagus, radish sprouts, and baby spring mix wrapped in a green soybean sheet. The flavor was light and fresh, while the texture was crisp and almost crunchy.

When it comes to sushi, vegetarians do not need to be left underwhelmed. The chefs at Rollapalooza prove that the same skills that craft beautiful bite-sized works of art and flavor out of fish can be applied to vegetables with delicious results. They certainly left this vegetarian full and happy.

Rollapalooza is located at 3344 N. Halsted Street.

By John DiGilio