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Wicky Wicky Sushi

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Before Todd Wickstrom opened Wicky Wicky Sushi, he used to prepare wholesale sushi for grocery chains at his Rose Hill business Sushi on the Spot. Though Wickstrom now focuses on the retail end of the sushi business at Wicky Wicky Sushi--a hole-in-the-wall strip-mall joint off Overland Road--you can tell by looking at his tight, square-shaped rolls that the dude has spent some serious time with a roll-mat and knife.

In fact, between placing loud telephone orders for Kewpie mayo and Kirin beer on a recent blustery, overcast afternoon, Wickstrom, a 40-something guy with a beach-bum vibe, explained that he used to sell sushi at Grateful Dead shows. Take one look around at the oddly decorated space, and that instantly makes sense--a Japanese rising sun wall mural is lined with vacation photos of Wickstrom holding up giant fish and a chair made from old skis sits in one corner. Wicky Wicky doesn't pour on the atmospheric charm, nor does it try to please raw-fish-weary palates with teriyaki or tempura dishes. But it does offer a focused selection of sushi, nigiri and temaki.

To ease the awkwardness of sitting alone in the empty, music-less space, I ordered a carafe of the house hot sake ($5) and took to reading a magazine. But when my server fired up the deep fryer to cook my veggie eggrolls ($3.99), the loud pops and spatters of hot oil were easily distracting.

Bringing out two small rolls--the last of their stock--Wickstrom confessed that they were one of only two things on the menu he doesn't make himself. The other, he said, was the salad. "I'm a sushi guy. I'm not set up to make that other stuff."

As for the stuff he does make, the menu is peppered with basics--Philly, spicy tuna and California rolls--but also includes some notable deviations from the norm. A number of rolls, like the Spicy Tiger ($7.49) and the Crunchy Yellowtail ($8.99), contain cilantro, while others like the Rosehill ($8.49) and the vegetarian Green roll ($6.99), interestingly include red onion. The specialty rolls also incorporate some eyebrow-raising ingredients: The Matterhorn ($15.99) is draped in arctic surf clam, while the Special K ($13.99) is covered in jalapeno slices and sambal delek (fresh ground chili paste).

I went with the accurately named Yummy roll ($13.99), which included particularly crunchy tempura shrimp, eel, smoked salmon and avocado on the inside and hamachi, avocado and kubiyaki sauce on the outside. Though the roll was fresh, the price point struck me as a bit hefty for its moderate size, not to mention the spot's out-of-the-way location and odd atmosphere.

As I finished off my fiery sake, Wickstrom busted out photos of the Dead Cat roll ($17.99)--raw arctic surf clam and tuna arranged to look like a run-over cat, complete with nori tire treads--and eagerly presented the store's latest swag: T-shirts with a tag line about rolling a fattie.

If you're looking for a swank night out, Wicky Wicky isn't the place. But if you like your sushi served up with a side of oddball humor, be sure to sign up for one of Wickstrom's sure-to-entertain intro sushi rolling classes.

--Tara Morgan thinks Overland is still the wicky-wicky Wild Wild West.

Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Wicky Wicky Sushi.

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