by Jan Walsh Photography by Beau Gustafson
Asian Rim Sushi Company opened to rave reviews in November 2012. The restaurant fuses an array of delectable dishes—from raw ahi tuna to a cooked to order rib eye over wasabi-mashed potatoes—for lunch, dinner and late night.
Asian Rim Sushi Company is situated on the corner at 3419 Colonnade Parkway, Suite 100, with two parking lots. The patio and pergola seat 84. Inside seats 150 people, divided among the main dining room, sushi bar and The Wave—a separate bar with bar tables and its own entrance. Soothing tones of blue blend well with cool shiny metals, warm woods, creamy upholstery, and the sushi bar’s sapphire-colored stained glass. There is also a grab and go room, with its own refrigerated case, takeout menu, entrance and parking.
Asian Rim is locally owned by Roy and Paige Hockman, who developed this new restaurant concept. A Birmingham restaurant veteran, Roy previously developed 14 successful Outback Steak franchises, four in the Birmingham area, which he sold back to the franchisor years ago. Today, he is very excited to be back in the restaurant business, as the founder of Asian Rim Sushi Company. Along with the Hockmans, a carefully chosen culinary team of chefs from Seattle, Washington, developed the menus’ flavor profiles and trained the staff. Also helping the Hockmans oversee Asian Rim are Ulises Echeverry, the culinary manager and Remy Helu, who serves as general manager.
Robin Colter and I meet for lunch and start with two tinis. Rim Tini is a light and tart mix of premium vodka, white cranberry juice and the puree of fresh cucumber. And the Vee Teeini—of VeeV Acai, St. Germain Elderflower and mango juice—is a cool golden, sweet, smooth cocktail with a nice mango flavor.
From the sushi menu we order signature rolls: Lolly Pop, Yellow Hammer and Roll Tide, along with Maguro, Kani and Sake from the sashimi list. The Lolly Pop arrives with each roll having its own stick—no chopsticks needed. Ahi tuna, spicy tuna mix, asparagus and nori are rolled in shaved English cucumber. These fun and delicious rolls are playfully scattered on a plate drizzled in unagi sauce along with red tobiko and chives. The Roll Tide is a winner of Gulf Shrimp, torched salmon, avocado, nori, wasabi aioli with unagi sauce and edible flowers. And The Yellow Hammer—my favorite roll—features torched Miso salmon with wasabi mayo, spicy aioli, sriracha, English cucumber, avocado, jalapeno, soy paper, spicy tuna mix with unagi sauce and finished with mango sauce, tobiko and green onions. The sashimi is large in portion and serious in freshness, with the quality of each fish shining through: Maguro (ahi tuna), Kani (crab), Sake (salmon). The sushi menu also offers our choice of eight signature dipping sauces and a unique trio of sea salts: Lemon Twist, Thai Ginger and Smoked Black. And we had them all—even though the sushi and sashimi are so good that they do not need sauce or salt. They are fun to play with as we taste the different flavor profiles each brings by mixing it up, bite to bite. I seriously can’t get enough of the aroma and flavor of the black salt, so I take some home.
From the main menu we start with appetizers of Edamame Hummus, Peking Crispy Duck Spring Roll, and Lemongrass Sausage Ssam Lettuce Wraps. Large, round, sea salted, crispy wontons meet their match in this colorful, textured hummus with layers of integrated flavors. The duck rolls are crisp on the outside and deep, rich and savory on the inside with Mandarin style duck with shitake mushrooms and dried cherries melding in a Peking Duck Sauce and sweet soy. And the wraps are a platter of bibb lettuce with house-made Lemongrass pork sausage, pickled veggies, with cilantro, mint and sushi rice, served with fish vinaigrette and scallion ginger dipping sauces.
Next arrives our sliders—Slow Roasted Asian Pork and Curry Spiced Red Fish—with crisp, hot Bangkok Potato STIX. This tender, tasty pork shoulder was simmered in Thai BBQ sauce and is topped with kimchee inside a hot, butter-toasted bun. Succulence and spice meet in the grilled red fish, layered with caramelized onions, bibb lettuce, mint, lemon and aioli, balanced with a sweet, fluffy, Brioche bun. And we split an entrée of Chiang Mai Scallops. These large scallops are seared to a golden brown outside. Their delicate texture and Chiang Mai flavor are enhanced with their accompaniment of crisp, colorful, tangy mango slaw with crunchy Macadamia Nuts.
Desserts are demi portions, so ordering is a must. We pair a two delectable sweet tart bites—Green Tea Cream Brûlée with Mango Lime Meringue Pie. From start to finish, Asian Rim’s ambiance is appealing, presentations are pretty, service is stellar, and the food is fresh and fabulous.