Roll On In for the latest sushi mash-up: the sushi doughnut

Variations on a theme in the round

The internet is abuzz over the latest sushi mash-up: the sushi doughnut, an unapologetic rendition of sushi in the shape of a doughnut ring.

Now you can grab one of these "doughnuts" at sushi burrito eatery Roll On In. The new menu item debuted at the Lebanon location on Monday and will launch at the Clifton Heights location next week. The sushi doughnuts will be available only on Mondays and Tuesdays until further notice.

Sushi rice is molded in a doughnut mold.

The idea came from Roll On In customers, according to co-owner and CEO John Kallenberger.

"Our customers were sending pictures to us and asking for the sushi doughnut," he said. "But we wanted to put our own twist on it."

Roll On In's sushi doughnuts, which are coated in tempura batter and deep fried, are filled with diners' choice of salmon with cream cheese, tuna with cream cheese, spicy crab salad or vegan mushroom tofu. Each doughnut is customizable with up to two proteins and a wide array of vegetables and toppings.

This Roll On In sushi doughnut gets some spicy tuna filling.

The sushi doughnut is offered as a shareable appetizer priced at $6.89.

"It's really sizeable enough for a small meal," Kallenberger said.

Culinary director Michael McCarthy and his team developed the sushi doughnut in a matter of days.

Roll On In's Michael McCarthy and John Kallenberger

"The most important thing is the sushi rice itself," he said. "We fill it in the doughnut mold half way, fill it and add more rice to shape it into a doughnut."

Availability will be limited, at least initially.

"We're trying to figure out volume," Kallenberger said, adding, "It'll be a first-come, first-served basis."

Depending on demand, Kallenberger and McCarthy said, they might consider offering sushi doughnuts every day.

"Our customers tend to be able to sway us," Kallenberger said.

California has been widely credited for the birth of the sushi doughnut, but Kallenberger attributes Roll On In's appeal to McCarthy's hand in making its sushi accessible to Midwestern palates.

An unmolded sushi doughnut.

Sushi refers to the vinegared rice that is traditionally accompanied by raw fish; at Roll On In, customers can pick from a wide range of ingredients to go with their sushi, such as fresh tuna, corn salsa and sweet chili gyro meat.

"I don't think bringing a California concept here in its entirety is going to have the same kind of success," Kallenberger said. "We're taking the concept of sushi and pulling in all kinds of customers, from 5-year-olds to 90-year-olds."

Roll On In

Website: rollonin.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/rollonin

Lebanon location

Where: 44 E. Mulberry St., Lebanon

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Sunday

Phone: 513-228-0069

Clifton Heights location

Where: 2504 W. Clifton Ave., Clifton Heights

Phone: 513-954-8113

Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Grace Yek writes about food for WCPO.com. She is a certified chef-de-cuisine with the American Culinary Federation, and a former chemical engineer. Questions or comments? Connect with her on Twitter: @Grace_Yek.

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