Last June, Buzzfeed freaked out in typical Buzzfeed fashion about a mash-up that writer Julia Reinstein described as "when a mommy sushi and a daddy burrito love each other very much." Other media outlets from HuffPost Taste to Business Insider joined the sushi burrito mania in short order. Those writers were only aware of versions in usual-suspect cities like San Francisco, Honolulu and New York.
But we found a place to try the sushi burrito trend right here in Houston. Food truck Muiishi Makirritos serves something similar, but with cooked fillings such as bulgogi beef and pork belly. The only place we've found to get raw fish stuffed into a fist-sized rice roll is at SushiPop in Spring Branch.
Behold, Space City's sushi burrito. Actually, at SushiPop, they call it a "sushi wrap," but you get the picture. The place is counter service and seemingly only moments after I'd placed my number on my table, a staffer had delivered my meal. In fact, I was still up at the fixings bar gathering togarashi and ponzu, which was a fun novelty in itself.
The salad, with tangy ginger dressing, was better than I expected at a fast casual eatery, complete with fresh, tasty cherry tomatoes. As for the burrito, it turned out I didn't need that togarashi. It was the spiciest spicy salmon I'd ever had with a double whammy of Sriracha mayo and fish coated in hot sauce. Cucumber and greens added a pleasant crunch, and avocado lent that California roll creaminess.
Everything tasted good to great, but with a thin wrapping of sesame-seed-inlaid soy paper, it simply didn't hold together. Chunks of semi-glutinous rice and spicy fish fell from the silver paper with each bite, especially when I tried to dip it in ponzu or soy.
So the sushi burrito, it turns out, was a mixed success. If they'd used stickier sticky rice, perhaps it would have been a different story. But they didn't. But I wasn't unhappy.
I can count SushiPop as one of only a few Houston restaurants that serves my favorite soda, Sangaria Ramune (other brands are just not as good), and I certainly can't argue with free self-serve soft serve, even if there's only vanilla and it's a bit icy. And just as "free" makes anything taste good, a trend can make even a girthy sushi roll seem pretty darn cutting edge. And that alone might be worth a try.