Food mash-ups have become one of the hot trends in contemporary food culture, from dessert pizzas and breakfast tacos to the cronut (a half-croissant half-donut pastry) and mac ’n’ cheese burgers. Sushi lends itself well to the trend. All sorts of iterations of the Japanese dish have emerged in recent years: sushi burgers, sushi tacos, sushi pizza—even sushi donuts. And of course, there is the sushi burrito, which seems to be popping up everywhere.
The sushi burrito (a main protein, rice, and toppings wrapped in seaweed) originated with California’s Sushirrito chain, but has since spread to the East Coast. And it takes pride of place at New Sushi, Inc., the restaurant chain that opened a place in 2016 at Government Center, and recently expanded to Allston in the former Mixx Frozen Yogurt space.
Always ready for a new food adventure, we checked out the Allston restaurant to see what’s behind the sushi burrito phenomenon.
The restaurant is small and sparsely decorated, but still manages to feel spacious. Two large tables can each accommodate up to five people; another half dozen café tables seat two people each. The weekday we stopped by at noon, it was easy to get a table, but the crowd picks up around dinner time and snagging a table can be harder.
New Sushi’s menu is limited, but to the point. There are six Signature Sushi Burritos ($9.50 to $11), a create-your-own sushi burrito option, a poke bowl, or salad bowl ($10.95 to $12.95), and a few sides ($1 to $4). Beverages are limited to bottled water ($1.50), soda ($2.50), and pure leaf tea ($2.95). When we’d decided what we wanted, we ordered at the counter and grabbed a table to waited for our number to be called.
First, we chose the House Jalapeño Tuna burrito ($10.50), tuna, jalapeño, avocado, red onion, cabbage, tobiko, sesame seeds, lettuce, and wasabi mayo. The presentation was no-frills: the burrito was wrapped in paper in a plastic take-out container. The ingredients tasted fresh and the vegetables were crisp. The wasabi mayo was the standout flavor, pungent, but not unbearable.
Be forewarned: the burrito was messy to eat. The seaweed wrap didn’t overlap at all and just met in the middle, so the only thing holding the burrito together was the paper sleeve. It was also open-ended, making it more like a giant sushi roll than a close-ended burrito, so we had to keep the paper on to prevent the ingredients from falling out the bottom. Given its relatively small size, the unremarkable taste, and the difficulty in eating it, we would probably not order another sushi burrito here.
Next we tried the create-your-own menu, which offers plenty of opportunity to customize your meal. First you choose a base: a burrito, a poke bowl (with options for sushi rice, sticky white rice, or brown rice), or a salad bowl. You next select a size: regular comes with two proteins ($10.95), large with three ($12.95). There are 6 options for sauce (choose one), and 14 possible toppings (choose 6). You then top your order off with a choice of “crunch,” either shredded nori or crispy onions, scallions, or garlic.
It took a minute or two to figure out what we wanted, given the array of choices, but New Sushi’s paper order forms (like the ones in the GSU food court) allowed us to take our time. We opted for a regular poke bowl with sticky white rice, tuna and salmon, spicy mayo, avocado, sesame seeds, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, seaweed salad, crispy scallions, and shredded nori.
It took some effort to stir everything together, but the results were well worth it. The texture of the seaweed salad contrasted with the crispy scallions, making for an interesting combination, and the spicy, creamy mayo added a kick of piquancy. We were pleased by the portion size—we’d ordered the regular serving, but it was more than filling with just two proteins. Most impressively, the proportions of each ingredient were calibrated so that with each bite, you could taste a little bit of everything, all the way down to the bottom of the bowl.
Our takeaway? Skip the sushi burritos and stick with one of New Sushi’s customizable create-your-own menu poke bowls. They alone are worth a visit to this Allston eatery.
New Sushi, Inc., 66 Brighton Ave., Allston, is open 11:30 am to 10 pm Monday through Thursday, 11:30 am to 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday, and noon to 10 pm Sunday. Take a 57 bus to Brighton Ave @ Linden Street or an MBTA Green line B trolley to Packards Corner or walk from West Campus. Order online for pick up.
This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch and brunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the Comment section below.
Madeleine O’Keefe can be reached at email@example.com.