Monday, November 9, 2009

Orange Bowled Over

I’m a big fan of recipes that incorporate citrus fruit—lobster paired with grapefruit in a sushi roll or salad, lime-based marinades—and who can deny the popularity of orange chicken?—but never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this one: Orange slices baked with salmon, cream cheese, scallop and imitation crab on top.

Introducing Sushi Fever’s “Orange Bowl”—it’s probably not what I would have named it, but whoever came up with this combination was certainly a genius.

I first discovered this dive in Las Vegas six years ago, when weariness of the Strip and the yellow pages had me driving west on Sahara Avenue for what seemed like forever, taking me miles from tourist central, as I searched for more of a local’s hangout.

The place sits in a nondescript strip mall, marked by a single purple awning bearing the restaurant name. Inside, the relaxing sushi bar atmosphere offers a nice oasis from the desert heat and the chaos of the neon-lit jungle that’s about seven miles east. Everything about it seems pretty traditional except for the menu, which offers “Screaming Orgasm” (seared tuna with spicy chef’s special sauce), and “Sex on the Beach” (spicy scallop with crab-topped salmon). There’s even the “Mistake Roll” and a “Something Wrong Special,” and twisted titles like “Japanese Burrito” and “Japanese Lasagne,” the latter of which comes with crab, avocado, cream cheese and eel sauce, which I can already picture to be gooey and melting in its lasagne-likeness.

Today the Orange Bowl is off-the-menu, surprisingly, but (thank God) you can still order it. The stiff-upper-lipped chefs whip it up quickly, almost surreptitiously, before you can plead that they make it extra crispy (charred, not burnt), or ask what exactly is that clear liquid is that they squirt on top of the dome-shaped delights right before they pop them in the toaster oven (past experience tells me they’re not gonna tell this time either). My guess is that it’s some type of sugar-water, for the crab sure is sweeter than you’d expect, and the liquid seems to help with the retaining of moisture in the baking process. But I believe the secret lies in the release of the citrus essence when the orange is toasted with the other ingredients.

The price is $9.50 for two mounds of orangey heaven, but I’m actually willing to pay more, because it’s that good. I don’t though—I simply order more of it and tip generously. The service is perfunctory and less than personable, but ultimately it’s the food that matters. It also helps that their prices are not those of a tourist trap. Here, you’re treated like a local…even if you’re secretly a transient.

Sushi Fever
7985 W Sahara Ave., Las Vegas

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Great reviews... I really enjoy how descriptive you are about the food and the location!

Good seeing you today and getting to know more about your interests. Your blog is GREAT!!