They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival there’s no shortage of delicious treats. On Sakura Sunday, Fairmount Park fills with vendors selling sushi, yakitori, and yakisoba, plus offerings from Philly favorites including Hai Street Kitchen and Maido. With such a broad range of tastes to test, how can you decide what to get?
At the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, we’ve decided to step in and offer our (mostly) unbiased opinions on local Japanese and Japanese fusion foods. Each Thursday leading up to the festival, we’ll be publishing reviews of our lunchtime takeout. We’ll also be rating based on four factors: flavor, price, authenticity, and likelihood of getting it again.
This week, we got lunch at Hai Street Kitchen, purveyors of the sushi burrito. Though a sushi burrito may seem like a strange concept, in practice they’re nothing short of a delight: meat or fish, vegetables, rice, and seasonings pulled together with a nori wrapper. It’s a novel take on one of Japan’s best-known imports that bears some similarities to ehomaki, over-stuffed rolls that are served without being cut as part of the spring holiday Setsubun on February 3rd.
Hai Street Kitchen’s sushi burritos owe more to Chipotle or Qdoba than to your average maki roll: when you enter the storefront, your burrito is made fresh to order, either as a pre-made combination or as a freestyle burrito. They’re fresh, flavorful, and brimming with fresh fish (chicken katsu and shrimp tempura are also available), lettuce and other veggies, pickles, and even guacamole.
Office reviews of the Hai Street sushi burrito were overwhelmingly positive. We praised the flavorful freshness of the burritos, the tastiness of our salmon and tuna, and the fact that they felt “a lot healthier than eating a baby sized burrito.” A nori wrapper is weaker than your average flour tortilla, making the sushi burrito a bit unwieldy to eat (grab a fork!), but that’s a small price to pay for the experience of eating a sushi roll the diameter of a small sandwich.
- Flavor: 4 out of 5. Hai Street’s sushi burritos are fresh and tasty, and the flavors generally work harmoniously with each other.
- Price: 4 out of 5. Starting at $9.25, a sushi burrito is fairly in line with the upscale fast food trend, and you can’t argue with the quality ingredients.
- Authenticity: 2 out of 5. It’s closer to a burrito than to a maki roll, but that’s the point.
- Would we get it again: Absolutely. No questions asked.