Flash back two years. I was passing by Nobu on London's Berkeley Street. Not a place, I knew, you entered without a reservation. But it wouldn't hurt to ask, and they actually had a place for one. Not a table, but a seat on the sushi bar. Just perfect, for I only really wanted to eat sushi (and watch the chefs as an added bonus). I ordered a drink, then told the elderly sushi chef I am a vegetarian, and the rest of my dinner was in his hands. Two rolls? I nodded yes, thinking we both meant the standard maki.
But he had other plans. He carefully cut a square off a red bell pepper. Then he brought out a torch and charred the little bell pepper. The effect was dramatic, but very carefully orchestrated. Then came out the little ball of rice, the now peeled grilled pepper was put on top and the whole bundle was tied up with what I knew to be some sort of seaweed but it was surely not nori. He carefully pondered on his choice of flavors, then picked one little bottle and sprinkled something on top.
The second roll was topped with two mushrooms, differently colored to a lovely effect. He also made, at my request, a california roll with asparagus tempura and avocado. But I always recall that first, dramatically made nigiri sushi fondly. This is that sushi.
I never knew what he tied the roll with so I used strips of nori. And the flavor on top, that's missing too but peppers and sushi rice made a thoroughly lovely combination.