HomeEntertainmentQuesting for the best California Roll

Questing for the best California Roll

Published May 29, 2023

BY AINSLEY HENDERSON

First mentioned in the Los Angeles Times in 1979, the California roll–a simple uramaki filled with crab, avocado and occasionally cucumber–has been a West Coast sushi staple for decades. While the identity of the roll’s inventor is unclear, California rolls are an excellent example of fusion cuisine–perfect for picky eaters or those looking for a simplistic maki. On the Monterey Peninsula, there are many options for those looking for a California roll, but one

If a California roll is bland, ginger, wasabi or soy sauce are excellent ways to boost the flavor. (photo by AINSLEY HENDERSON)

question remains: Which roll is the best?

Crystal Fish Sushi – Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey

Crystal Fish’s California roll is a $7 bite-sized slice of heaven. With cucumber slices excluded from the roll, the creamy crab salad and tiny avocado slivers make it light, fluffy as a cloud and mildly sweet, but after a couple bites with no crunch, a bit of contrast is needed. Soy sauce or Crystal Fish’s signature savory, orange mystery sauce can help alleviate that feeling.

Yama Sushi Restaurant and Bar – Del Monte Center, Monterey

It’s raining sesame seeds! It’s cloudy with a chance of cucumbers! This roll, while still following the format of a traditional maki, has a little extra crunch and flavor added to it. Yama Sushi, you’re underrated, but with a cost of $8.95, a bit overpriced. Out of every generic California roll, Yama’s is by far the most entertaining to look at and crunch on.

Packed with delectable avocado, C.U. Sushi’s roll is perfectly textured. (photo by AINSLEY HENDERSON)

C.U. Sushi – The Crossroads, Carmel-By-The-Sea

As an avocado lover, California rolls are always better with a heavy helping of it—fun fact, avocados are a savory, delectable fruit! Sometimes, the amount of crab salad can be overwhelming, but C.U. Sushi’s hearty handful of avocado balances out the sickly sweet concoction. Add a little soy sauce, or a little spice, and this $8.95 roll is perfect.

Lucky California – Carmel Rancho Boulevard, Carmel-By-The-Sea

Grocery store sushi, while never amazing, is perfect for a quick lunch. Prepared in-store, Lucky’s California roll is nothing to sneeze at, but nothing to shout over either. The crab isn’t really crab, or even crab salad, it is more so a roll of imitation fish. The rice is dry and mediocre, but hey, at least they include cucumbers and slightly brown avocado. For around $6, this roll delivers exactly what the price implies. 

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