Not many restaurants would keep actor Alec Baldwin waiting for a table, but Sushi Rock faced that predicament lastsummer when scenes for Rock of Ages were being filmed in Fort Lauderdale. Baldwin, who has a starring role in the movie, arrived at the popular Las Olas restaurant on a typically busy night. Sunny Yuthasunthorn says she wanted to seat the celebrity, but didn’t want to anger patrons already waiting in line. “So I told Alec Baldwin it was a 45-minute wait,” says Yuthasunthorn, whose parents, Luke and Suwanee, own the restaurant. He left. Everyone else stayed — in line.
It’s confirmation that Sushi Rock caters to locals, even on touristy Las Olas. Come early or you’ll find yourself in a line that’s out the door, especially on weekends. You might be able to grab a Kirin beer or white peach saketini while waiting. The place is tiny, with about a dozen tables, so seating gets pretty cozy.
Yet no one seems to care. The Yuthasunthorns opened their first Sushi Rock in South Beach two decades ago and sold it before moving to Las Olas in the mid ’90s. In the fall, they’ll open a second location in Wilton Manors. The family’s Thai heritage is reflected in a twist on pad Thai made with ramen noodles, but the menu focuses on sushi and Japanese classics.
Ambience: Sushi Rock’s music theme extends to the décor. The walls are lined with vintage album covers, and black lights give the room a purple glow. The background music is from the ’80s and ’90s — the crowd may suddenly start singing along to ’N Sync or The Cranberries.
- Fresh, fun rolls like the Michael Jackson (eel, crab, tamago and orange roe)
- The Beastie Boys roll (eel, crab, avocado and tamago omelet drizzled with eel sauce)
- The Milli Vanilli roll with “imitation” crab
- Terrific, barely seared tuna tataki dotted with sesame seeds, chopped scallions and a splash of ponzu sauce
- Crunchy, panko-breaded, flash-fried tuna tataki
- Steamed shrimp dumplings with a creamy mustard dip
- Perfectly salty edamame
- Grilled skewers of tender yakitori chicken
- Pristine sushi by the piece including sea urchin, quail egg sushi and squid
- The Fugee roll blending cream cheese, salmon, crab and a wrap of crisp cucumber ribbons
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers with spicy tuna, jalapeños, scallions and tempura flakes
- Chicken yakisoba with stir-fried noodles and vegetables in a tangy, sweet and savory soy-based sauce
- Green Day green tea ice cream
- Scrumptious Banana Rama — tempura banana fingers with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup