Keep Rollin, Rollin, Rollin
cheryl gerber photo
It is safe to say that I could eat some form of sushi, from rolls to sashimi, every day of my life – much to my co-workers dismay. There’s nothing better than fresh salmon or tuna (my favorite) with avocado, rice and endless amounts of toppings. As the path this column typically takes, I bring my obsession to new levels, and so decided to try my hand at making my own sushi.
When Chef Dirk Dantin, executive chef and partner of Rock-n-Sake cafes, dropped a piece of fresh tuna that was about as long as my leg, I knew this “Try This” was going down in my book as one of the best, right behind the time I went skydiving.
Rock-n-Sake offers guests an opportunity to try sushi personally made by the chef, as well as learn a few techniques of their own – and a few of the editors in our office jumped at the opportunity to give it a try.
Rock-n-Sake New Orleans has a side room that can be sectioned off for private parties. The four of us were able to sit right at the sushi bar and observe everything Chef Dirk was doing. First he explained a bit of his background (he learned sushi techniques in Tampa after Hurricane Katrina.) Next, while he sliced the tuna, he gave us a few cooking tips – always cut with the grain, not against because it will pull it apart, and the perfect amount of sushi rice is about the size of a bath bomb.
At the start, Chef Dirk made us a few delicious rolls and said getting to experiment with different fish and flavor combinations was one of the best parts. He eventually let us, the professionals, step in and create our own rolls by picking our own fish, any other additions inside the roll and all the toppings. Mine had tempura shrimp and cream cheese with salmon on top. I even got to use a cooking torch to lightly sear the salmon on top of my roll.
Learning how to correctly create one of my favorite things to eat gave me a huge appreciation for what I believe is an art form. I also surprised myself by creating a pretty tasty roll and not slicing a finger off or setting anything on fire in the process.
Rock-n-Sake can accommodate parties of all sizes, from sororities to bachelorette events. But when it comes to the sushi making class, 4 was a perfect number. We each got a hands-on lesson from Chef Dirk, got to make our own creations and really take control of what we were trying…and then eating.
My confidence in my sushi-making abilities may be a little high now (although no sushi restaurant is going to hire me), but now when I’m eating Rock-n-Sake’s popular LSU roll, I can say I know exactly how they made it - and that, to me, makes the entire experience a little more special.