“Mutant foods” from the cronut to the ramen burger come and go, disappearing from social media as quickly as they blow up. But San Francisco’s passion for the sushi burrito refuses to die.
When we first laid eyes on the mythical sushirrito on Reddit in 2013, it seemed too good to be true: a sushi roll swollen to the size of a burrito, stuffed with veggies, sauces, rice, and raw fish, and eaten with your hands. Fast-forward four years, and people are still forming lines outside Sushirrito, a Bay Area restaurant chain that claims to be the birthplace of this beastly food.
I stopped by Sushirrito’s location in SoMa to see if the sushi burrito meets the hype.
Today, the restaurant chain has six locations in the Bay Area and one in New York's Flatiron neighbourhood. There's usually a line out the door.
Inside, diners queue up in front of the food prep area. You can't customise what goes inside your burrito, unlike other quick-service chains like Chipotle or Subway.
It's mesmerising to watch the sushi burrito come together in just seconds. Like a normal sushi roll, a plastic-bamboo mat is used to tuck the ingredients into a pinwheel.
I unwrapped the Geisha's Kiss burrito to find it really did look like a jumbo-sized sushi roll. It combines Japanese and Latin flavours, with yellowfin tuna, fish roe, chips made from lotus root, egg, piquillo peppers, cucumber, lettuce, and a ginger-infused guacamole.
I sunk my teeth into glistening chunks of yellowfin tuna. Fresh and firm, the fish tasted like it could have been line-caught that morning. The lotus chips added a nice crunch.
Next I tried the Salmon Samba, which contains oven-baked salmon, tempura-fried asparagus, cucumber, lettuce, ginger-infused guacamole, pepitas, and wasabi dust.
My first bites into the Salmon Samba distinctly reminded me of eating a salmon burger. The cooked salmon combined with the pepitas created a nutty, caramelised flavour.
My favourite part was the tangy, pickled cucumbers. But the Salmon Samba paled in comparison to the Geisha's Kiss, in part because it didn't taste like traditional sushi.
Lastly, I dug into the Sumo Crunch, a combination of shrimp tempura, surimi crab, shaved cabbage, cucumber, ginger-infused guacamole, and Sriracha aioli.
This burrito screamed 'California roll.' I thought the mounds of crab would overpower the other ingredients, but the heat from Sriracha aioli kept it from being boring.
Each sushi burrito packed a generous amount of fish, which was good and bad. They tasted delicious (at a reasonable price), but several hours later, I still felt sickly stuffed.
FYI: I ate a few bites of each burrito, not three entire burritos.