For those in the know, the Joyce Roll at Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Germantown is a thing of legend, a status completely deserved. You can add this roll to the list of Memphis must-eats (even if it’s Germantown), such as the wings at Alex’s, the cheeseburger at Tops, and snow cones at Jerry’s. Yeah, it’s that good.
The owner of Sakura, Joyce Nam, came up with the idea and it’s become the restaurant’s best-selling roll; they sell more than 200 every week.
It starts out as a classic roll filled with crawfish, but then it’s tempura battered and deep fried. It’s topped with a spicy mayo sauce, eel sauce, sesame seeds, green onions, and a lot of masago, those salty little orange fish eggs. Nutritionally, it’s probably the sushi equivalent of a deep-fried candy bar. This is not a clean little roll you fix up with wasabi and soy sauce. Like a good steak, the extra sauce just ruins it.
It comes in four pieces, each cut in half. It’s warm, a little gooey in the center and the flavors melt together beautifully. It reminds me a little of really good crab cakes.
The Joyce ($8.95) is in a league of its own, but if you’re not into the deep fried stuff, the Mexico Roll, filled with crawfish and fried white fish, is a good second choice. Like the Joyce, this is also a roll better left alone. Forget the extras and eat it plain.
We made the mistake of ordering four rolls and now could nibble on sushi for days. Listen to me very carefully: Unless you’ve been on a starvation diet for a week, two specialty rolls for two people is more than enough. They’re huge.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant, 2060 West St. in Germantown. Call (901) 758-8181.