Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ai-Fusion - My Favorite Sushi

We've been looking for a favorite sushi place since Midori got sold. The biggest problem is that I'm not really jazzed by purist Japanese sushi. I don't really get excited by the subtle differences between one kind of fish or another. I like excitement in my sushi - hot, creamy, crunchy with highlights of this flavor and that flavor. Because of that I lean toward Korean sushi. Of course, fusion cuisine - that peculiar blend that came out of California - also tends toward more variety.

And now we've found Ai-Fusion. They are run by the same people who run Ukai, and if you order from their regular menu, you will find some similarities in flavors with their sauces and meat grills (I love the teriyaki and mustard sauces that come with their grilled meat dishes - try the teppanyaki filet mignon!)

But it's their sushi menu that I go for. No, they don't have quite the balance of medium rolls that Midori had. The rolls here are either simple or are extravagant, and it takes a little experimenting to find your favorite balance of flavors and textures. (And very often, you'll get it all in the same roll.)

The hard part is remembering exactly which roll was the one you really loved last time - each roll has so many elements, they all start to sound alike. I can say for certain one of our favorite rolls is the Spicy Baked Scallop Roll - a roll with shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber in it, with piles of scallops, tempura flakes, masago and sauces. The other big roll depicted here was (I think) the Fusion Roll, which was filled with spicy tuna, avocado and crab, and then the whole roll was fried up in tempura breading.

But we really liked the Playboy roll, and the MSU roll, and the Peacock, and the Crunch roll. You can find your own favorites. And don't forget to order some little rolls - an Avocado roll, or an AAC, or a pickled radish roll - to clense the palate between the taste overload on the big rolls.

They also have a lot of small private rooms, including some tatami rooms, for moderate sized parties.

Ai-Fusion is at 2827 East Grand River (in the old "Pistachio's" location) in East Lansing. 517-853-700.