Pyrotechnically Challenged

The fire cracker salmon rolls ($8.95) at The Cheesecake Factory (5015 Westheimer, 713-840-0600) may not sparkle or light up. They do, however, explode in your mouth with many different flavors and textures. Biting through the wafer-thin, flaky pastry exterior, you quickly come upon the inner spinach-wrapped salmon fillet, the softness of which contrasts nicely with the crisp covering. The ingredients are rolled up before being lightly fried. The name of the dish comes from the fact that their ends are tied together with strips of scallion, making them look a lot like Chinese firecrackers. It's a flash of brilliance. Served with a dipping sauce made of light soy with ginger notes, the salmon rolls are sure to set any meal off with a bang.

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Paul Galvani