The Shaggy Dog Roll at Nippon Japanese Restaurant

I grimace when the canine species is at all associated with Asian cuisine, but that didn't stop me from ordering the Shaggy Dog Roll at Nippon.

The components (shrimp tempura, mayo, crabmeat, etc.) seemed familiar and innocuous, and, besides, as I told the table, I was in the mood for some "vulgar sushi" (my nickname for over-the-top Americanized sushi).

Most of my more refined dining companions ordered different varieties of Nippon's famed ramen. I initially suffered from some order regret as a procession of servers began handing out large, steaming bowls filled with tempura, seafood and never-ending noodles.

One piece into my Shaggy Dog Roll, and I forgot about those fragrant bowls of beautiful ramen. While the roll's individual ingredients aren't particularly noteworthy, something about their combination was deliciously addictive. The flavor of the delicate tempura coating perked up with a dressing of spicy Japanese mayonnaise and a dusting of scallions provided a green earthiness that contrasted well with the brinier shrimp and crabmeat.

Eight pieces seemed like a sufficient serving, but I could have eaten eight more by the time I finished my first Shaggy Dog Roll. I sadly switched to a California Roll, satisfying but so boring in comparison.

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Joanna O'Leary