A career in the NFL doesn’t last forever, so Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron is starting a new sushi restaurant back in Tuscaloosa. Why is this news? Because we have to talk about its name, and because it’s now opening up.
"It's a build-your-own sushi roll (concept)," Pete Zimmer, co-owner and operator of Ajian, told AL.com in an interview. "We are taking advantage of that whole fast-casual, build-your-own model that started with Chipotle and Subway and has blossomed into Mediterranean food and pizza. Sushi seemed to be one of the few venues where it has not really hit its stride yet, so we thought we would jump on the front end of it."
AJIAN SUSHI! AJIAN. SUSHI. GET IT? IT’S LIKE THE WORD “ASIAN” BUT REALLY IT’S “AJIAN” BECAUSE HIS NAME IS AJ!
The logo is supposed to look like kanji, but it’s just “AJ” turned on its side. Now, you can’t judge a book by its cover or a restaurant by its really terrible name — so let’s give Ajian Sushi a chance and learn a little more about what it will do differently than every other sushi restaurant out there. The Crimson White found out more.
“You walk into our fast-casual atmosphere and you’ll design your own roll every time,” said Pete Zimmer, co-owner and main operator of Ajian Sushi. “At the hit of a button we’ll have white or brown rice, and from there you’ll pick your proteins, vegetables, toppings and sauces for close to $8 a roll.”
This sounds really good. I’m down with build-your-own sushi and the price is right. OK, Ajian Sushi, you’re starting to sell me on this. Let’s read a little futher.
Ajian Sushi will maintain the traditional proteins like smoked salmon and spicy tuna, but will also provide options like the flamin’ hot Cheeto roll, peanut butter and jelly roll and the banana and Nutella roll for more daring customers.
KILL THIS RESTAURANT WITH FIRE!
Seriously, what the hell does a peanut butter and jelly roll even look like? Are you putting PB&J in seaweed? Is there rice in there? If you wrap it in bread then you’ve basically made an $8 Uncrustable. This is horrid.
Look, that was a harsh reaction. I just have a visceral response to taking something as delicate and pure as sushi and cramming a bunch of Cheetos in it — and I think that’s OK. Someone should put a “Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Roll” on dry ice and fly it to Japan for Jiro Ono from Jiro Dreams of Sushi just to record his reaction.
On the plus side, Ajian Sushi will likely become one of those college town oddities serving weird food to students. That’s OK so long as its confined.
Zimmer hopes this will be the first of over ten Ajian sushi restaurants in the state of Alabama.
What have we done to deserve this? OK, let’s give Ajian Sushi one last chance to try and change our minds. We’ll go into this blank slate, just hit me with one last roll.
“maybe even a dessert roll made of fruit roll-ups, rice krispy treats and licorice.”