Chino Latino‘s Snap Crackle Pop Roll is filled with non-local fish and rolled in a cereal product made by one of the country’s industrial food mega-producers, making it about as politically correct as a Veal McGriddle. That said, it’s damned tasty… and since sea scallops are a relatively sustainable fish choice, the roll is one of the rare sushi-esque choices that shouldn’t immediately induce guilt upon tasting.
The dish is a combination of lightly poached sea scallops with a spicy aioli, stuffed inside a reverse maki roll along with cucumbers and avocado. The twist is that Rice Krispies cover the roll’s exterior. The sweet and buttery scallops and avocado work well with the kicky aioli and the light but assertive crunch of the breakfast cereal coating. A bit of ponzu sauce completes the picture by providing a tangy finish. $15 gets you 10 big rolls — not cheap, but you actually get quite a bit of well-balanced and legitimately amusing food for the money.
Beyond the excellent taste and tolerable value, the Snap Crackle Pop Roll is an interesting thought experiment. By thrusting a low-brow mass-produced cereal into the fancy-pants world of sushi, it provokes an immediate response: “Hey, that’s not authentic! What the hell are you doing?”
Which in turn, of course, raises the counter-response: “Oh, like any sushi served in America is authentic? Particularly in the Upper Midwest, a solid thousand miles plus from either ocean?”
And the further response: “Hell, if ‘authentic’ Japanese sushi means eating endangered whales, is that really the ideal we should be shooting for?”
Well, whatever — as is typical for the creations of Chef Noah Barton, the roll is good food for thought — an added bonus for something that already tastes quite delicious.