First Impressions visits dining spots in the region that are new or have undergone recent transitions. Have a candidate for First Impressions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you’re walking past the new Wrap N’ Roll on a busy block of L Street, you may do a double-take if you catch someone eating at one of the outdoor tables. Is that some kind of exotic burrito? Or is it a giant sushi roll?
It’s both, actually.
Wrap N’ Roll, which opened April 1 in the space previously occupied by TreyBCakes dessert spot, intends to be the go-to spot for sushi that’s fun, fast, affordable and, if this turns out to be your thing, delicious. It will also be hoping to get some of the late-night bar crowd. It will be open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
While the concept might seem exciting to some and bizarre to others, it’s not necessarily new. Owner Mymy Nguyen first spotted the trend at food trucks in Los Angeles.
“I thought, ‘Why not bring it back to Sacramento?’ ” said Nguyen, who grew up here.
It’s worth noting that Nguyen is just 24 years old and this is her second Wrap N’ Roll. In November, she opened her first eatery in Elk Grove.
Menu: There are plenty of ways to enjoy the food here. The menu is divided into snacks, salads, signature sushi burritos, additional burritos and bento boxes. Much of the emphasis is making the experience fast and efficient to attract the lunchtime crowd.
The focal point of the menu is the sushi burrito. Think something that’s the size and shape of a burrito, only it’s wrapped in nori (seaweed) and contains traditional sushi ingredients. If that sounds exciting, this may be your new go-to spot. If it sounds scary, safe and simple Chipotle is right around the corner.
Nguyen says her favorite sushi burrito is the spicy tuna, which includes tempura shrimp, pickled sunomono and other ingredients, including guacamole and jalapeños. If that sounds too fiery for your liking, there’s a triple sashimi burrito that contains three kinds of raw fish (yellowtail, salmon and tuna), along with wakame salad, black tobiko and more.
The sushi burritos are wrapped in nori and that’s where things might get divisive for some folks. As an alternative, there is a lighter, tamer flavor soy wrap available upon request. There are 13 burritos available, including a panko chicken or grilled beef option for those averse to seafood.
There are three salads: Wakame (marinated seaweed), chicken salad or ahi poke.
Price point: Salads range from $5.50 to $8.95. Only one of the sushi burritos costs more than $10. Most are $8.25 to $9.50, which is more expensive than a traditional burrito but on par with a gourmet sandwich or burger.
Ambiance: Not much has changed from the rather spartan decor of TreyBCakes. It’s a medium-sized dining area with large windows looking out onto L Street. You order at the counter. The bar crowd starts to get there around 1 a.m., we’re told.
Drinks: Wrap N’ Roll has applied for a license to sell beer and wine.
First impressions: Food trucks have brought us lots of fun and innovation. This is one of them. Whether you find it appealing or off-putting is anybody’s guess. This is fun food that’s fast and easy. Is it great sushi? No. It’s OK sushi done really big.
That said, Wrap N’ Roll is not trying to compete with nearby Mikuni, Lou’s or Kru. These sushi burritos are meant to be wolfed down and to be done so for under $10. Some might find the nori wrap overwhelming on the palate. That’s a lot of salty seaweed for some. If that sounds like too much, ask for the soy wrap.
Service: Very friendly and attentive.
Try it if : You’re looking for a meal on the run, aren’t a sushi snob and want to try something new.
Forget it if: You actually like sushi and want only the good stuff.
Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob.