Written by Olivia Lewis
Officially joining the cast of culinary chimeras like the Cronut and ramen burger, the sushi burrito, which blends Japan’s culinary darling with the south of the border’s spicy sweetheart, is the latest highbrow new food trend to hit Oxford.
Touting ingredients like cream cheese, shrimp tempura, tortilla, avocado and seaweed, I Love Sushi is the first restaurant in Oxford to add sushi burritos to its menu and just this month has released four one-of-a-kind flavors: “Cheat Day,” “Class Cancelled,” “Single Lady,” and “Good Girl.”
It’s a trend that I Love Sushi has not only become privy to, but also the rest of the nation. Even as places like Chipotle fall out of favor, sushi burritos continue to gain traction, spreading from the West Coast on outwards.
With its fusion of Asian and Latin flavors, it’s a culinary trend that seduces the tastebuds of would-be customers’ and reinvents the way both cuisines approach traditional food. I thus felt compelled as a fan of both sushi and burritos to sample the dish, so I ordered up the first one I saw: “Cheat Day.”
With both hesitation and excitement, I opened the to-go box to reveal the monstrous beauty cradled inside. “Cheat Day,” as it was aptly named, was two large deep-fried rolls stuffed with crispy shrimp tempura, dollops of cream cheese, rice, avocado and cucumber. Alongside these bold flavorings was a drizzling of sweet chili sauce, spicy mayo and sweet teriyaki.
The first bite was admittedly difficult, as the roll didn’t quite fully fit inside my mouth (something I’d never dreamed I’d say in regards to sushi), but the immediate punch in flavor made up for it.
The tangy sweetness of the chili sauce mingled superfluously with the audaciousness of the spicy mayo, while the crunchy texture of the tempura only served to accentuate the creamy, rich avocado.
Sushi may be known for its subtle, refined taste, yet this was not the case with I Love Sushi’s sushi burrito. On the contrary, “Cheat Day” was a meticulously choreographed performance of teriyaki and avocado fireworks, an Asian favorite interlaced with a layer of Latin zest. The flavors played together rather than overwhelmed each other.
While it might be a sin to call it sushi, the sushi burrito most definitely pushes the boundaries of what traditionally has been a very strict culinary tradition.
Thankfully, neither the lines of tight, neatly wrapped tuna rolls or the queso-filled, fried pinto bean burritos are likely to disappear any time soon, but the lines between them may very well continue to be blurred. To put it frank: The purist had better watch out— because the sushi burrito might just be here to stay.
Edited by Allison Jones.