Like most food trends, poke bowls and sushi burritos made their Boston debut long after they became hashtaggable. (Though, I must note, the now defunct Wrapmi was way ahead of its time.) San Francisco’s Sushirrito and New York City’s the PokeSpot may have seemed like mere likable moments, but now, two new locations in Davis Square could change that for good. Maybe. Or not, I don’t know.
The California chain PokeWorks claimed stake on Elm Street in early June, with a tentative fall launch for their bright, fresh Hawaiian-style poke bowls and fish-filled burritos called pokirritos. And right next-door is the brand new O’Ginger, a Japanese restaurant that also just happens to serve sushi burritos alongside rolls and hot plates. For O’Ginger, six sushi burrito variations are offered — ranging from the California Sunomo (deep-fried crab salad and cream cheese) to the Budda Roll (tofu and avocado), wrapped in soy paper. Like most decent burritos, they’re under $10 and can be called-in for takeout.
Assured by my waitress that the spicy tuna and vegetable Cosmo Sushi Burrito is the most popular option of the six, I indulged. It arrives cut in half, and is approximately five inches in diameter. It looks like sushi — but giant sushi, not quite ready for consumption by chopsticks. Instead, you use your hands, carefully nibbling a precariously compacted, oversized monster roll while quietly forgetting all we’ve learned from Jiro Ono.
It tastes, well, like sushi. If you like sushi, you’ll like this. Yummy sauce is, as promised, yummy. It is tasty and fine. It is, theoretically, a satisfying meal: protein-packed with a reassuring crunch of the occasional raw vegetable that makes you forget you’ve devoured a quarter cup of Kewpie mayo.
However, it’s lacking. The ceremony of eating sushi — even the humblest, most westernized renditions of sushi— is bastardized by the sushi burrito. The ease and convenience of the sushi burrito — all the deliciousness of sushi with zero need for fussy soy sauce receptacles or chopsticks — are duly noted, but the sensory experience is confusing. Everything about the process of eating a sushi burrito, made me wish it were cut into six or eight perfectly bite-sized pieces.
As though he could read my mind, halfway through what is inexplicably named the Vegas Sushi Burrito, my boyfriend leans in and whispers, “Do you think I can dip it in soy sauce?” Now that is an excellent question.