December 14, 2011

Vic Sushi

During my recent trip home to Florida, I met up with some friends at one of our favorite sushi spots- a trendy restaurant in "downtown" Gainesville.  We got to talking about the lack of good sushi in our respective current cities- last time A & I had good Japanese food we went to New Jersey for it...  Our conversation reignited my need to find good sushi in our area, and I decided to finally check out a little take-out spot that a few friends had recommended.

I called in our order after work on a Friday, specifying when I would be able to pick it up.  It was dark out and the only part of the awning I could see said "sushi bar" so I had to cross my fingers and hope I was arriving at the right place.  They hadn't taken my name over the phone, which I thought was a little strange- the woman working the counter had to rifle through a few bags of food before determining which one was mine.  Can you tell picking-up food to-go is a novelty to me? The inside of the store was bright and pleasant, but only a few seats at the counter means most people go the take-out/delivery route.

A & I both started out with a seaweed salad ($3), a generous pile of algae in varying shapes and shades of green and yellow.  Tossed with a sweet rice vinegar-based dressing, the seaweed acted like a little salad- something I ate in between pieces of sushi in lieu of pickled ginger.  I do prefer my seaweed salads to be more on the salty/spicy side of the spectrum- a bit too sugary for me.  A solid (and inexpensive) appetizer nonetheless.

Vic's is pretty well-known by the Yelp-er's for their three-roll special- your choice of three "regular" rolls for just $10.95.  Definitely a good way to go if you're sticking to simpler maki preparations.  We agreed on a few of our favorites- a Philly roll, an Alaska, and a spicy tuna.  Good-sized hunks of creamy fat-streaked salmon and an equally good-sized cube of cool, firm cream cheese- the Philly roll is superb.  Sub the cream cheese for avocado and you're in Alaska- either way, the fat content of both guarantee a great mouthful of sushi.

The spicy tuna roll was a pretty major disappointment- I know this roll typically uses leftover tuna "scraps" but the filling in this was more of a mushy pureed tuna mixed with a not-spicy-at-all "spicy" sauce.  It had the essence of a spicy sauce- the creaminess from the mayo and a hint of balancing sweetness- but just the barest hint of sriracha had us wanting far more of the burn.  But two out of three ain't bad- I told A that next time we should just get three Philly rolls.

We also chose a couple of special rolls from their extensive list.  Ingredient quality is certainly a large aspect of how enjoyable a sushi experience is, but we also like to see what kind of creative ways a sushi chef can combine different flavors and textures in a single bite.  And yes, these should be able to be eaten in a single bite.  First up was a Red Dragon ($10.95)- eel, avocado, and cucumber topped with tuna.  We ate a few pieces of the fish off of the top- this was definitely no high-quality toro (fatty tuna belly)- very lean and topped with a little sprinkle of ginger dust.   Overall the roll just didn't have a whole lot of flavor- it certainly wasn't bad, but it wasn't exciting.

Fortunately, the Lucky Roll ($10.95) was explosively flavorful- not surprising considering it's contents.  Puffy chunks of lightly fried tempura shrimp, avocado, and cucumber are wrapped up and drizzled with a sweet and salty eel sauce, layered with thickly sliced salmon, more avocado, and topped by a sriracha-heavy spicy sauce.  Hello, everything I love in one bite.  We're not typically fans of non-raw components in our rolls, but the combination of velvet-y salmon and chewier shrimp was a winner.  Definitely our favorite roll of the night.

 After stuffing ourselves to the brim with seaweed, rice, and raw fish, we knew we'd found our new go-to sushi bar.  Just a short walk away, affordable prices, great quality fish (minus the spicy tuna..), and a solid list of specialty rolls that we'll have to work our way through- so glad we finally "discovered" this little place.

Vic Sushi
2035 Sansom Street


  1. Love that joint. It's been a while. Try Sakura Japanese on Spring Garden and the sashimi at Sagami.

  2. This place is one of my favorites! Have you tried the tuna dumplings?