Work recently required a trip to the Bay Area. There’s hardly anything that hasn’t already been said in praise of eating out there, but to those of you landlocked here in the upper Midwest, I present to you two words together that until now you have almost certainly kept apart: sushi burrito. While it sounds like some foul concoction that might spew from the kitchens of the corporate food-fusionists at Taco Bell, it is, in fact, perhaps the world’s most perfect lunch food. Most, upon hearing the name, think: sushi in a tortilla. Rest assured no tortillas are harmed or otherwise utilized in the making of the sushi burrito. (Though why people tend to recoil when they think of sushi in a tortilla, I do not know. Rarely does a tortilla make anything worse. Think about it: anything non-liquid that is good on its own could, in principle, make a good filling for a tortilla.) No, the sushi burrito is essentially just a sushi roll the diameter and length of a standard issue burrito — so seaweed where the tortilla would go — eaten in the same fashion: by stuffing the whole thing a bit at a time into one’s face while doing one’s best to make sure any dropped bits land where fingers can fetch them. I had two such works of magnificence in my days in the Bay, both in downtown SF near where I was conferring, the first at Sushi Taka, and the second at the small local chain Sushiritto, whose name mericifully saves you a syllable’s work when saying, thus giving you more time to eat their eponymous product. At the latter I had the Geisha’s Kiss, a raw tuna wonder that was good enough to make up for its name.
Better, though, was the shrimp tempura burrito at Sushi Taka. The tempura was like a culinary San Andreas fault line running through each bite: its crunch shook all the flavors together into soul-satisfying perfection.
An added bonus: with each burrito came a small cup of miso soup, produced like magic from a machine that looked like one of those devices from which “espresso” drinks now spew in every convenience store and gas station. The West Coast truly does deserve its reputation as being on the leading edge of technological culture. And the sushi burrito, well, I doubt we’ll see anything like that here in Michigan for at least a decade.