GULFPORT -- Rock-N-Roll Sushi doesn't look like many other sushi restaurants. The giant portraits of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin make that apparent the moment you walk in through the door of the restaurant on 25th Avenue in downtown Gulfport, just south of the railroad tracks.
The black and red painted, rock 'n' roll-themed restaurant offers traditional and non-traditional sushi, with an eye toward a more inventive, Americanized take on the sushi roll. The new Gulfport sushi restaurant is the first Mississippi location of a small but growing Alabama chain that started in suburban Birmingham.
The menus are printed on the inside of classic rock LPs. When you open the gatefold, you see all Rock-N-Roll sushi has to offer. The headliners are the real focus of the menu. They are over-the-top options that include rock- and pop-themed rolls, such as the Guns and Roses roll ($10.95). It comes with tempura shrimp, cream cheese and salmon, which is then deep fried and topped with eel sauce, spicy mayonnaise and crunchy tempura flakes.
Perhaps the most eccentric offering is the Velcro Pygmies roll ($8.95), which included spicy crunchy tuna, avocado, crunchy tempura flakes, and it is all topped with Pop Rocks, yes the Pop Rocks candy from your childhood.
If candy on your sushi isn't your thing, the Scorpions roll ($12.95) is ready to rock you with avocado, white tuna, salmon and yellowtail tuna, all wrapped in a cucumber peel. This roll offers a fresh twist on a classic roll with the light crispy cucumber peel.
My dinner guest and I ordered the Elvis roll ($12.95) and the Sam I Am roll ($10.95) respectively. The Elvis roll comes with tempura shrimp and cream cheese, which is then deep fried and topped with seasoned crawfish and crunchy tempura flakes.
The flavors hit just the right spot for fried food lovers, and none of the ingredients overpowers the others. The portions are sizable without being too much of a mouthful, which can sometimes be the case with bigger and bolder sushi rolls.
The Sam I Am roll came with tempura shrimp and crab meat, mixed with spicy mayonnaise and topped with avocado and citrus sauce. The crunch from the fried shrimp with the freshness of the avocado makes a fresh satisfying roll with a lightly hot finish.
More traditional rolls, called "classic rock" on the menu, also are available, offering classics such as the California roll ($4.95), the spider roll ($7.95) and the Boston roll ($4.95). Traditional nigiri and sashimi are also available.
Last but not least are the opening acts, the appetizers. Traditional egg rolls ($ 5.95) and crispy crab wontons ($6.95 for five large wontons) are offered, and both were freshly fried and filling.
All and all, if you're in the mood for some sushi with a twist, served in a laid-back environment, Rock-N-Roll Sushi will have you coming back for more.