How Do You Roll @ Sawgrass Landing
13775 W. Sunrise Blvd.
Sunrise, Florida 33323
Web Site: http://www.howdoyouroll.com
Quick Serve Restaurants, or QSR’s, are all the rage right now in casual dining. The trend of serving “faster, but higher quality” food items than what is served fast food establishments can largely be attributed to Chipotle, which is now a huge success story in the food and restaurant industry.
Since Chipotle made it big, others are trying to figure out what the next big QSR concept is. A lot of stuff since has been various re-spins on the burger concept. Asian cuisine, particularly sushi, is not something QSR as a whole has attempted to tackle yet, due to much higher sanitary standards as well as issues of keeping fish fresh.
How Do You Roll, a QSR chain that originated in Texas (and was profiled on the TV show “Shark Tank“) is attempting to recreate Chipotle’s “Roll your own” model and success but with sushi and other Asian items. There are currently two locations in Florida, one in Sunrise and the other in Gainesville.
Rachel and I had the opportunity to visit the Sunrise HDYR location on a torrentially rainy saturday night with a group of sushi fans from Meetup.com when business was slow, so we got a chance to observe the franchise under optimal conditions for photography but not necessarily to see how service would perform under busy conditions.
As I mentioned, HDYR is a “Roll your own”, QSR restaurant where you pick from a list of ingredients and the sushi chefs put together your custom sushi roll, rice bowl or ramen soup.
HDYR is most definitely a “beginners” sushi place because there are only 3 raw fish types you can choose from, Tuna (Maguro), Salmon, Escolar (a bland white fish, sometimes referred to as “White Tuna”), and “Spicy” variants of the same. Additional proteins that can be rolled are cooked Beef, Chicken, Crawfish Tails, Surimi (“Krab Sticks”), Shrimp, Eel and Tofu.
There is also a nice variety of fruits, vegetables and a number of different sauces and toppings/condiments which allows for a good combination of things for the diner to create. Pre-designed roll combinations range from $3 to $7, so you’re looking at about half of what a mid-range sushi restaurant charges for similar items.
Like at a Chipotle, or a sub shop chain, you order at the counter and they give you a number and you sit down. When your number is called you either go up to get your order, or depending how busy the place is, they bring it to you. The place was so completely dead that evening due to the weather that we got first class table service.
Is How Do You Roll a fresh or a dead fish? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
HDYR offers a few different types of beer and sake, including a “Buddha” beer in an interestingly crafted glass bottle.
The “Buddha” beer.
The sushi mise en place area, which as you can see is done very much Chipotle or Subway/Quiznos style. Cleanliness appeared to be something they were paying close attention to, which is critical for a QSR handling raw fish.
A rice bowl being prepared.
Edamame (soybean) appetizer.
Cucumber Salad / Sunomono
One of the small appetizer salads, the Chopped Asian Salad. Ingredients were fresh, was a nice accompaniment to the sushi.
Fried Dumplings (Beef, also come in vegetable) we thought were surprisingly good.
The ramen soup, while pretty, we thought was a miss. The broth, while “home made” is a vegetable based broth and doesn’t taste anything at all like a traditional Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen broth. I’d skip this one.
I picked the Crispy Shrimp here as the topping for photographic aesthetics but they do get soggy very quickly because they dump them in the broth as opposed to serving them on top of the noodles in the traditional Japanese way.
This is the “Ceviche” appetizer. This is not a ceviche by Peruvian, Mexican or any South American definition and there is a lot of surimi in here mixed in with some escolar, avocado and onion and some spicy mayo served with chips. Rachel and I both liked this for what it was.
This is one Rachel ordered called “The Gluten-Free” roll. It’s a simple roll with nori seaweed, escolar, some avocado, sprouts and some asparagus. We liked this one due to the clean flavors and the simplicity.
This is one of the unusual cooked rolls, the “Beefinator”. It is supposed to be Grilled Beef, Avocado, Green Onion, Cucumber, Wasabi Mayo & Teriyaki. We didn’t get that, the mayo they used was a chipotle type and there was no teriyaki in it. So it came off very Mexican-tasting.
This one was called the “Mango Tango” with Surimi, Salmon, Sprouts, Avocado, Mango Salsa (fresh mango), Sesame Chili Oil and Spicy Mayo. We thought this particular roll was nicely executed, both Rachel and I liked this one.
This is the first of several “Spicy” rolls that I ordered, all of which look and taste very similar. This one, called the “Crazy Cajun” featured Surimi on top and Crawfish Tails in the middle. We ordered this one with brown rice, which is available in all the rolls and rice bowls.
This is another spicy roll called “Crunch Daddy” which features Shrimp, Jalapeno, Mandarin Orange, Spicy Mayo, Tempura Crunch topping & Chili Powder.
The spiciest of the spicy rolls is the “3 Alarm” which is similar to the “Crazy Cajun” but features Spicy Tuna in the middle.
The one item we thought was poorly executed was this custom tuna hand roll Rachel had ordered. It had gotten kind of squashed and the distribution of ingredients didn’t really work.
While this is a lot to ask from unskilled teenage sushi rollers being taught a QSR system versus something you would get at a mid-range sushi place from supervised trainee sushi chefs, I’ve actually had better hand rolls at sushi buffets, like this one from Santos in Coconut Creek.
So the conclusion on HDYR — this is obviously not a destination sushi place, and it doesn’t have the fish variety of a mid-range local sushi place. I would also say that most buffet sushi restaurants in the area probably make similar quality sushi. In terms of overall sushi value, if you’re really hungry, and you want a dinner option, I’d probably go to Santos in Coconut Creek instead.
However, I would say this is a good place probably to stop in for a quick lunch as a healthier alternative to going to Subway, Chipotle or even walking into Publix and buying some of the pre-prepared sushi packages (which HDYR is definitely better since it is freshly made and you know the rolls have not been sitting around in a fridge case).
And I would also say that this is a good “Training Wheels” sushi place for people who are beginners, or a place for parents to bring kids since coming up with your own roll with the stuff you want in it is a fun idea. And the chain’s attention to cleanliness is a huge plus.