I love sushi. I love burritos. But what happens when you put the two together? Greatness.
An intrepid tipster informed me on Monday about a new offering at Sarasota's Goichi's Sushi Cafe: the sushi burrito. The item has been available on the West Coast for years, but to my knowledge, Goichi's is the first restaurant in our area to begin serving it. They look like what you'd expect—a burrito with the flour tortilla swapped out for nori, or like a maki roll on steroids—and the flavors blend both traditional sushi-style seafood with burrito-friendly ingredients like cilantro and lime juice.
Goichi Matsumoto, the head chef at Goichi's, is already well known for dramatically improving the city's takeout dinners, thanks to his excellent ramen options, now available every night of the week instead of just on Mondays, so it's no surprise to see him bring the sushi burrito to Sarasota, nor to taste how excellent the results are.
You have options. You can either construct your own burrito out of a selection of proteins and toppings, or just lazily pick from one of 11 pre-planned 'ritos, which are generally built around traditional sushi fish and shellfish options. There's spicy tuna and salmon, one with fried soft shell crab, one with fried shrimp and many more choices, with prices as low as $7.48-$9.35 if you pay with cash.
Matsumoto's burritos are maybe a bit smaller than a typical Chipotle burrito, wrapped in nori, as well as a sheet of paper to help keep things tidy. A basic salmon burrito ($8.41) comes stuffed with rice, lettuce, avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime and ponzu. It's crunchy, sticky, acidic, salty, spicy. Ditto for the spicy tuna burrito ($8.41), served with most of the above, plus a smattering of crispy tempura flakes that add yet another layer of flavor. A sprinkling of smelt roe brings a dose of marine salinity to the soft shell crab burrito ($9.35), which is also laced with teriyaki sauce and cucumbers. Just as with sushi, a drizzle of soy sauce and a nostril-clearing hunk of wasabi improves each package.
Is the sushi burrito here to stay? Or is it a mere novelty that will one day fade into nothingness? Only future historians will be able to look back and judge with certainty. But despite being trapped inside the muddled present tense, I'll risk hyperbole: The sushi burrito is the food we need right now.
Goichi's Sushi Cafe is located at 4563 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, and is open 5-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Call (941) 342-7711 or click here for more info.