Rolled, not gold: Sushirritos prove more fad than rad

Heidi Roenisch

Burrito-sized rolls of sushi, also know as sushirritos, are the latest food trend sweeping the Bay Area, touted as a portable and more filling version of two popular meals. First created in 2011, the popularity of sushi burritos has recently taken off as more restaurants, including World Wrapps and High Tech Burrito, have started to serve them. The original provider is the eponymous Sushirrito, which now has four locations throughout San Francisco and offers sushirritos with fresh ingredients and a fusion of Latin and Asian flavors.

Despite the line of eager customers spilling out of the door and around the block, Sushirrito’s offerings proved to be underwhelming, with high quality ingredients but poorly chosen flavor combinations and ingredient ratios.

While Sushirrito had a line out the door, the offerings failed to live up to the hype.

The Sumo Crunch ($10), featuring shrimp tempura, crab and ginger guacamole, is easily the best sushirrito out of those sampled. The tempura is crunchy and flavorful, and pairs well with the fresh vegetables and guacamole packed inside. However, the combination of tempura on the inside and tempura flakes on the outer surface is a bit overwhelming and gives the roll a greasy texture. Additionally, an issue present in all of the rolls and something seemingly inherent to the size of a sushirrito is the lack of a good ratio between ingredients. Some bites are entirely comprised of fish, while others are just rice.

The Caballero ($11) which consists of beef, cabbage, carrots, corn chips, jicama and ginger guacamole, is by far the worst item offered by Sushirrito, largely due to its odd mix of flavors. The beef is weakly seasoned and completely overshadowed by the flavor of the outer seaweed wrapping. The guacamole, tortilla chips and other Latin flavors feel completely out of place with the other traditional sushi flavors, creating an unpleasant flavor that tastes almost rancid. This sushi burrito, like the others, was served in a portion too big to finish.

The Lava nachos were the best overall item.

However, the Latin and Asian flavor fusion works perfectly with the Lava Nachos ($8), which consist of brown rice chips topped with tuna picante, melted cheese, ginger guacamole, onion and spicy “lava” sauce. The tender tuna pairs perfectly with the crunch of the chips and onions and the fresh guacamole creates a smooth and delicious finish. The portion size of the nachos is also the most realistic, as one basket would be a suitable meal for one person or potentially a shareable appetizer.

The third sushi burrito, the Satori ($13), has the most traditional sushi flavor with Yellowtail tuna, pickled vegetables and wasabi mayonnaise. The vegetables were fresh and crisp and the wasabi provides good flavor without being overwhelmingly spicy. But the sheer amount of raw fish packed into the roll is quickly apparent and for me, a casual sushi consumer, rather unappetizing. However, if one prioritizes their sushi based on the fish and not necessarily the overall flavor distribution, this is an appealing option.

The Sumo Crunch, with flavorful tempura and vegetables, was the best sushirrito sampled.

Sushirrito excels in its customer service. Despite a long line, it only took about 15 minutes to make it up to the counter and receive the food, even with an extra wait for the nachos. The store is small but clean and functional, and the sushirritos are made to order at a bar in front of the customers. However, seating is extremely limited, with only two small tables inside and three outside. This setup, the fact they don’t accept bills larger than $20 and the shop’s limited hours of 11 4 p.m. make it apparent that despite its more mainstream success, Sushirrito ultimately still targets the corporate lunch crowd. This priority on efficiently handling a rush means that they do not allow ingredient changes, substitutions or special orders.

Overall, a visit to Sushirrito is worth it for the hipster spectacle and for the die-hard fish fan, but beyond the novelty there is little reason for the casual sushi consumer to make more than one trip.