Gator, Volcano Roll are lunch time gems
I have made it my mission to find all the restaurants in all the nooks and crannies of Gainesville. During my first year in Gainesville, if the restaurant wasn't in my line of vision around the University of Florida campus, I was unaware of it. Even though now I have expanded my culinary horizons, four years after moving to Gator Land, there are always a few places that fly under the radar. Sushi Matsuri, next to Hungry Howies, off of Archer Rd., has been one such place.
On one of the rare occasions that I am not ravenous, sushi provides a lighter option that also appeals to my experimental side, allowing me to order a variety of sashimi or unusual rolls. Having such a hankering and hearing only positive reviews about Sushi Matsuri, I thought I would try it despite its somewhat tucked away location at 3418 SW Archer Rd. This location probably contributes to it being a regular spot for "the locals," as the majority of tables were full of younger couples with beautiful-looking rolls adorning each plate
As my friend, Thomas, and I were not particularly starving that Saturday, we agreed to narrow our selection to two rolls between the two of us, but selecting just two out of the vast selection of menu items would be a challenge, I love sharing to get the most out of my dining experience at a new location.
Per usual, we each started with miso soup, which was very standard compared with other sushi establishments. The low $1.50 price tag, however, was a new appeal.
The art of strategic selection is not lost on us: It took little convincing and some collaboration for Thomas and I to settle on the Gator Roll, image right, and the Volcano Roll. The Gator Roll consisted of a very filled roll of chopped, spicy tuna and yellowtail complemented by the distinct flavor of scallion and blanketed by a bed of roe (fish eggs) and sesame. I found it noteworthy that for a pretty simple roll, the majority of it was filled with fresh-tasting fish, making me feel that I got the best bang for my buck at $6.95. The Volcano Roll, image bottom right, although more expensive, created an enjoyable contrast to the freshness and no-frills simplicity of the Gator Roll. The Volcano Roll, filled with krab meat, cream cheese, also with scallion and roe, had a rich and hearty consistency, especially coupled with my favorite part of it: the avocado and spicy scallops adorning the top.
The wide selection of variably-priced sushi rolls, as well as the entire separate menu of cooked options, from katsu to tempura, enticed me to want to return for more. The delicious sushi and the prompt service created a cohesively exceptional sushi experience, complete with intimate, dim lighting.
The Pluses and Minuses of Sushi Matsuri:
Sushi Matsuri ( +) indicators: Good sushi, diverse menu selections, many options for non-sushi eaters, quick service and food delivery, open seven days of the week, reasonable prices.
Sushi Matsuri ( - ) indicators: somewhat tucked away location, off this eating Adventurer's lunch path.
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