When I arrived at Northwestern campus in the fall, it wasn’t long until I began my love affair with Todoroki. I quickly learned that the restaurant's inventive sushi rolls, heaping plates of hibachi and saucy noodles are at the top of any Evanston foodie’s list. 

When Northwestern’s chapter of Spoon planned a sushi making night at Todoroki, I was more than ready to upgrade my usual dining hall dinner. On Thursday, Feb. 16, we met at Todoroki for the restaurant’s first sushi making class since the pandemic. 

Upon our arrival at Todoroki, nearly 20 hungry Spoonies and their guests were greeted with bowls of edamame and plates of crispy gyoza. Our agenda was to make three maki rolls with guidance from Todoroki’s sushi chefs. Once we received sticky balls of sushi rice, sheets of nori and the other ingredients required for our first creation, the California roll, we began. 

To start the California rolls, we mimicked the chefs as they expertly and gently spread the rice from the top left corner of their nori across the entire sheet. We piled the layer of rice with thinly sliced cucumbers, wedges of avocado and crab meat. Next came the biggest challenge: rolling the sushi. This task required pristine balance; if handled too roughly, the entire roll would fall apart, but without enough force, the fillings would spill out from the sides. 

My first attempt at the California roll was certainly not perfect, but after I cut the roll into six even pieces, it was time to taste it. While my sushi seemed simple at first, the cool cucumber, buttery avocado and sweet crab meat made for a perfectly balanced roll that melted in my mouth.

Soon after devouring our California rolls, we repeated the same process, but with shrimp instead of crab, to make shrimp tempura rolls. During this part of the evening, my sushi rolling skills slowly improved. While my finished shrimp tempura rolls weren’t top-notch quality, I learned one of my biggest lessons of the evening: imperfect sushi is definitely better than no sushi at all. Every bite had the perfect contrast between crispy, golden shrimp and sticky rice. The roll was chewy and slightly sweet from a drizzle of eel sauce

Following these two rolls, we advanced to our final test as beginner sushi makers: spicy tuna hand rolls. While the process was similar to the first two, we didn’t spread out the sushi rice this time. Instead, we placed the rice in the top right corner of a sheet of nori. We then folded the nori around the rice to form a cup shaped like an ice cream cone. Then, we placed a ball of spicy tuna, given to us by the chef, and avocado on top. The tuna was creamy and slightly lemony. The nori holding the roll together added a perfect crunch to the soft rice and fish. 

The night ended with steaming bowls of silky miso soup for everyone. Full from my sushi making adventure, I reminisced on my newly gained appreciation for the art of making sushi. I could think of no better way to spend a Thursday night than laughing with my fellow Spoonies as we gained a rewarding new skill.