Restaurant News & Reviews

Marriage of sushi, burrito fits California lifestyle, demographic

Sashimi kale salad photographed Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Make Fish in Sacramento.
Sashimi kale salad photographed Thursday, March 17, 2016 at Make Fish in Sacramento. Special to The Bee

Two of the fastest growing ethnic groups in Sacramento – and California – are Latinos and Asians, so it was just a matter of time before sushi married a burrito. The fusion of flavors and cultures gave birth to Wrap & Roll, a thick burrito-shaped hunk of sushi wrapped with nori seaweed instead of a tortilla.

Sushi burritos began appearing in Northern California about two years ago at a franchise known as Wrap & Roll, which is now Make Fish Poke & Sushi Burrito. While poke’s taking off at restaurants in the region, folks come in mostly for a sushi burrito, which when cut in half can easily feed two people for about $12. There is no sour cream or beans, but there is rice and hot sauce along with a variety of filling. The tuna and salmon sashimi’s packed with with shrimp, avocado, wonton skin, kale, jalapeños, sesame seeds, sunomono and green onions with habaneros.

Other sushi burritos feature soft-shell crab, tuna, albacore, tempura shrimp, tofu, panko salmon and chicken karaage, depending on the season. You might also find spicy tuna tacos and volcano nachos that bear no resemblance to Mexican nachos.

“It’s Mexican Japanese fusion,” said Elk Grove manager Jazz Apostol, who’s Filipino. “I’m not too sure who invented it, but it’s been around for a few years. There’s a pretty good chance it started in Sacramento.” The current owner is Jimmy Voong, a Chinese American, Apostol said, though a cross section of races and ethnicities can be found on either side of the counter.

At the L Street location, a perfection fusion couple – Korean American David Jung and his Mexican American wife Anna – occupied an outside table.

“There’s not too much Mexican about it, just the shape,” said Anna, as David handled the signature sashimi burrito, which can hold its own with most Mexican burritos.

“It’s a little on the healthier side, and I like the combination of flavors: tofu, kimchi sauce, mango, avocado, edamame,” said David, 28, owner of ATA Martial Arts Studio in West Sacramento.

Inside three Syrian Americans also tackled the sashimi burrito.

“I’m able to eat the sushi I love in a different form; it’s really convenient,” said Zaina Chaban, a University of the Pacific student enjoying an albacore burrito. Shaun Chabon had come up from Milpitas to try his hand with a hefty sashimi burrito.

“You can just take it and go – it’s easier to travel with than sushi, when you’re not sure what’s going to happen with it. This is unique, and it still has the health benefits and flavor of sushi.”

Stephen Magagnini: 916-321-1072, @StephenMagagnini

Make Fish Poke & Sushi Burrito

What’s so special: Sushi-filled burrito wrapped with nori seaweed instead of a tortilla.

The local connection: Make Fish Poke & Sushi Burrito can be found at two locations: 1801 L St., Suite 70, Sacramento, 916-476-6731; and 9015 Bruceville Road, Suite 100, Elk Grove, 916-647-4282.

Expectations: Make Fish fulfills a number of cravings: easy-to-eat sushi – you can walk and eat at the same time. The original Wrap & Roll franchise was taken over by Make Fish, which has held true to its signature dishes. For more information and hours, go to www.makefish.com.

Quote: “It’s a little on the healthier side, and I like the combination of flavors, tofu, kimchi sauce, mango, avocado, edamame – my wife is Mexican and I’m Korean, so it’s a perfect marriage.”

David Jung, Make Fish customer, on its sashimi burrito

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