Behold the Typhoon!
Sushi Burrito on 8th
180 E 800 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
At first, throwing the words “sushi” and “burrito” together in the same sentence might seem like an exercise in absurdity. What would such a high-class culinary staple like sushi be doing in the same back alley as a gooey, overstuffed burrito? This was my perspective when I first heard of this little joint that has re-purposed the shack that used to be Guzzi’s Burgers. Just because I couldn’t mentally comprehend this juxtaposition, however, didn’t mean I wasn’t intrigued.
When I arrived with my posse, the place was packed. Diners who were eagerly awaiting their orders spilled out into the streets, and it soon became clear that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to see the marriage between Japanese fine dining and Latin-American street food.
Despite the high volume of customers, it didn’t take long to elbow-check our way to the cashier and place our orders. I went with the Typhoon ($9.99), which was stuffed with Albacore tuna, crab salad, cucumber, and avocado, and my wife ordered the Citrus ($8.99) which came with salmon, crab salad, and a slice of lemon.
After we pounced on a recently vacated table, I tried to mentally note when the people ahead of us in line got their orders. Based on the number of people ahead of us and the fact that this place is fairly new, I anticipated us getting our food sometime next week. Regardless of my pessimism, our food came quite promptly–the service was definitely working it.
Unwrapping my brand new sushi burrito was not unlike unwrapping a mystery gift at Christmas. I expected something vaguely burrito-shaped, but would that be the extent of its burrito heritage? Removing the wax paper, I discovered something genius about Sushi Burrito’s culinary concept. What stood before me, daring me to take my first bite, was a thickly-stuffed sushi roll that had simply not been cut into its characteristic discs. Rather than utilizing a tortilla to keep its innards nicely tucked inside, Sushi Burrito stuck to a sheet of nori–which, upon further contemplation, works exactly the same way.
My first bite hit me with everything that I love about sushi–fluffy sticky-rice, fresh, raw tuna, with that mayo-y goodness of the crab salad. The veggies were fresh and crisp, and the slice of avocado drove it home. As with other sushi restaurants, the burrito comes with slices of pickled ginger and wasabi. The ginger was easy to pick up and add to each bite, but the lack of utensils made wasabi application a dangerous process. I found that my wife made the better choice with the Citrus–that thin spiral of lemon really made the flavors of the salmon come to life.
There were some parts of the meal that I wish were a bit more burrito and less sushi, but they mainly had to do with the burrito’s construction. Where a traditional burrito uses the tortilla to completely envelop its gushy innards, the giant sushi roll leaves both ends open–which made the sushi burrito come apart fairly messily once I got to the end. The risk of filling eruption is occasionally increased by the chewiness of the nori–it takes a bit of strategic biting to make sure the fish, rice, and veggies don’t spill out of the opposite end.
All things considered, the world needs a place like Sushi Burrito. For too long, sushi has been associated with an air of douchebaggery; conjuring images of slick, young capitalists who use the odious term “let’s do sushi” when setting up their business lunches. What Sushi Burrito has done is taken the flavors and experience of eating sushi and given it a creative overhaul for those of us who just like how it tastes.