Review: Sushi GO!

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Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito – Delish!

A new dining adventure awaits you on the Northeast corner of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Oklahoma Avenue in Bay View… Sushi GO!

For all of the dining options in Bay View – and there’s stiff competition here, my friends – sushi restaurants are still uncommon. There’s room in the local dining scene for a casually trendy place to meet friends for sushi and wine, and the proprietors of Sushi GO! are working enthusiastically to fill that space.

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California Roll (8 generous pieces per order)

You can, of course, find the usual suspects on the menu – ginger salad and miso soup, California rolls, veggie rolls, etc. If you’re an American sushi joint traditionalist, you’ll find these familiar comforts exceptionally well prepared. The ginger salad is lightly tossed with a flavorful dressing – no big glop of orangey-pink dressing here. The miso soup appears to be made with pressed tofu, and is quite enjoyable.

The real stars of the Sushi GO! menu are the sushi burritos. I’ll confess to being a former sushi burrito skeptic, because I was (wrongly) envisioning the football sized monstrosities at actual burrito chains. Well, get that out of your head. The sushi burritos at Sushi GO! are just the right size to be satisfying without being excessive, are made with well prepared rice and sheets of nori, and are filled with delectable combinations of ingredients.

Try the Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito! As the menu says, this gem is filled with “Crab Salad, avocado, cucumber, bacon fat caramelized onions, [and] bacon.” The crab salad is excellent, and the bacon is a fabulous thick cut variety favored by connoisseurs. The Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito is ah-mazing, and let me interrupt before anyone gets precious about “traditional” sushi ingredients. While exploring sushi offerings in every district of Tokyo, I saw Japanese diners relishing everything from fried eggs to miniature hamburger patties on their sushi. Anything goes. Anything. Bacon? Yes, please!

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Spicy Tuna Roll (8 pieces per order)

Amanda, one of the proprietors, was friendly and welcoming. She walked me through the menu, and even offered a generous sample of their Spicy Tuna Roll made with honey sriracha aioli (delish!). I visited at lunchtime with pint-sized diners, and she made them feel welcome.

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Pint-size Sushi Aficionado with a California Roll 

I can’t wait to return soon during evening hours for sushi and sake.

Gochisosama Deshita!

“It was quite a feast!”

Planning a visit? Check out SushiGoMKE.com or stop by at 2110 E Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207

 

Tokyo Food Tour! Uni

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Raw uni (top) may be eaten directly from the shell

The fragile, edible portion of a sea urchin is referred to as uni, and is a Japanese delicacy. The appearance of uni in any form can be a bit intimidating for new tasters, as uni really doesn’t resemble anything at all in Western cuisine. It’s unique qualities, ranging from its bright orange color to its soft, almost liquid texture, are precisely what make uni such a high demand item for connoisseurs.

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Uni nigiri sushi (raw) with a dab of wasabi

When enjoyed raw over rice as nigiri sushi, uni has a buttery feel and a mildly sweet, briny taste. Fresh, raw uni is more expensive than many other sushi items, but the experience is worth purchasing a taste if the opportunity presents itself!

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Steamed uni vendors at the Vietnam Festival

Uni can also be enjoyed as part of many cooked preparations, as well. At a boisterous Vietnam Festival in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, vendors were selling steamed uni, shown below. When steamed, the color is more muted and the texture more crumbly. I found steamed uni to have a mildly smoky flavor, and enjoyed steamed uni more than raw.

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Steamed uni

When traveling to exciting, new destinations, don’t be afraid to sample locally popular foods. For those of us here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, tasting regional specialties is one of the most exciting parts of exploring our crowded earth!

Tokyo Food Tour! Uobei Sushi

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Salmon Roe with Cucumber

Is it possible to stumble upon the most fun restaurant in Tokyo during one’s first day in Japan? Let’s put it this way – if I find something more fun than Uobei Sushi in all of Tokyo, I may never go home!

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Spicy Shrimp

My traveling companions and I visited Uobei Sushi in Shibuya, which feels a bit like Times Square in New York City. Upon exiting the Shibuya train station, we were overwhelmed in a fabulous way by the sights and sounds of this booming metropolitan area. The main intersections are a sight to behold. When the crosswalk signals allow, thousands of people cross 5- and 6-way intersections in all directions. Loud music is piped into the intersections, accompanied by flashing advertisements on giant screens mounted on the sides of buildings. Wow.

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Snow Crab with Crab Butter

We may never have found Uobei Sushi without Natsu, a dear local friend who generously helped us navigate our first days in her amazing city. Let’s be honest… without Natsu, we not only would missed out on Uobei Sushi, we might still be standing in the airport!  🙂

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Smelt Roe

Back to Uobei Sushi… it’s fun! It’s casual! It’s very affordable! And it’s DELICIOUS! This isn’t an ordinary restaurant, friends. At Uobei Sushi, customers order from a vast menu of nigiri sushi, rolls, and sides using an iPad. Food is delivered on computerized, high speed conveyor belts that stop right in front of the customer for whom the items are intended!

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Conveyor Belt System

Green tea and ice water are self-serve and complimentary. Most varieties of nigiri sushi are just under $1 (USD equivalent) for 2 pieces. How can I not go back? If I don’t come home, friends, you know where to find me!  🙂

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Tuna and Salmon

 

 

Salmon Nori Maki

WIN_20150114_185930Delicious, nutritious, simple, and elegant – what’s not to love? Dried nori sheets are available in most supermarkets now, and are (or should be) very reasonably priced. Pick up a package, and have some fun in your kitchen today!

picture669Ingredients (Makes 6 rolls, or 48 bite size pieces)

2 cups sushi rice

3 cups water

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

WIN_20150114_1750351/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces of frozen salmon fillet

1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions

WIN_20150114_182051Step 1) Rinse rice several times in cold water until water drains clear.

Step 2) After rinsing, combine rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Step 3) While rice is cooking, slice frozen salmon into 1/2 inch slices. Place salmon slices on an oiled baking pan.

picture670Step 4) Stir together soy sauce and brown sugar.  Using a basting brush, coat salmon slices with mixture.  Bake salmon in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Step 5) Gently transfer cooked rice to a large bowl and spread rice up the sides of the bowl (gently!) with a rubber spatula.

Step 6) Combine rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Microwave for a few seconds until lukewarm.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Then, drizzle the vinegar mixture all over the rice.

Step 7) Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the rice over a few times to distribute the vinegar as evenly as possible without mashing the rice.  Spread the rice up the sides of the bowl again.  The rice should look glossy.  Cover the bowl with a slightly damp cloth and let sit at room temperature for one hour.

WIN_20150114_183953Step 8) Center one sheet of nori in the middle of a bamboo sushi roller (very inexpensive; sold in markets next to the nori sheets).  As an alternative, try using a thin, flexible silicon baking mat instead of the bamboo.

Step 9) Carefully spread 1/2 cup of rice all over the sheet of nori, except for 1 inch at the top.  I find it is easiest to drop small teaspoons of rice all over the sheet and then spread them together – this helps avoid tearing the nori sheet.

picture680  Step 10) Place your salmon pieces end to end over the rice about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the nori sheet, as shown.

Step 11) It’s time to roll up your Nori Maki!  This takes a bit of practice, but it’s not rocket science.  Using your bamboo or silicon mat, fold the bottom of your nori sheet up until it just barely covers your salmon.  Press firmly and evenly along the bamboo or silicon, to give the roll a tight, uniform shape.  Continue rolling the nori sheet, being careful not to roll the bamboo or silicon “into” your Nori Maki.

picture681Step 12) When you get to the top inch, dip your finger in water or vinegar and run your finger along the top edge of the nori.  This will help to seal your Nori Maki.  Set aside, seam side down, and continue with your next roll.

Step 13) Slice each roll into 8 pieces using a very sharp, non-serrated knife.

Step 14) After the effort that led you to this last step, be sure to respect the Japanese tradition of presenting food in an artful manner.  Have fun with this!  Put some thought into arranging your Maki Sushi on individual serving plates or a buffet platter, and garnish as you see fit.  Remember that wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce are traditional condiments, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other dipping sauces and toppings.

Maki Sushi

picture683First, let’s dispel of a common American myth… sushi does not mean “raw fish.”  The word sushi refers to food made with cold, vinegared rice.  Often this rice is topped with raw fish or other seafood… but not always.  It is perfectly legitimate to prepare sushi using other accompaniments, such as vegetables or cooked eggs.  Maki Sushi, shown above, refers to sushi rice and any variety of fillings which have been rolled into sheets of toasted seaweed called nori.  These rolls are then cut into bite size pieces, and are often served with several condiments including pickled ginger, wasabi or Japanese horseradish, and soy sauce.

If this sounds unfamiliar, take a peek at the Asian foods section of your local supermarket.  Even in small towns and tucked away areas, you may be pleasantly surprised to find sushi rice (a short grain, white rice), nori sheets, and wasabi.  Adding Maki Sushi to your kitchen repertoire is a fun and healthy way to eat fresh!  Enjoy!

picture669Ingredients (Makes 6 rolls, or 48 bite size pieces)

2 cups sushi rice

3 cups water

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

picture6771/4 teaspoon salt

Assorted fillings, cut into long, thin strips.  Shown (left) are cucumber strips, red pepper strips, and surimi (mock crab sticks made from whitefish).  Other ideas include thin slices of avocado, carrot, and smoked salmon.  Use your imagination!

Directions

picture670Step 1) Rinse rice several times in cold water until water drains clear.

Step 2) After rinsing, combine rice, 3 cups water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Step 3) Gently transfer cooked rice to a large bowl and spread rice up the sides of the bowl (gently!) with a rubber spatula.

Step 4) Combine rice vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Microwave for a few seconds until lukewarm.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Then, drizzle the vinegar mixture all over the rice.

picture679Step 5) Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the rice over a few times to distribute the vinegar as evenly as possible without mashing the rice.  Spread the rice up the sides of the bowl again.  The rice should look glossy.  Cover the bowl with a slightly damp cloth and let sit at room temperature for one hour.

Step 6) Center one sheet of nori in the middle of a bamboo sushi roller (very inexpensive; sold in markets next to the nori sheets).  As an alternative, try using a thin, flexible silicon baking mat instead of the bamboo.

Step 7) Carefully spread 1/2 cup of rice all over the sheet of nori, except for 1 inch at the top.  I find it is easiest to drop small teaspoons of rice all over the sheet and then spread them together – this helps avoid tearing the nori sheet.

picture680  Step 8) Place your fillings over the rice about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom of the nori sheet, as shown.

Step 9) It’s time to roll up your Maki Sushi!  This takes a bit of practice, but it’s not rocket science.  Using your bamboo or silicon mat, fold the bottom of your nori sheet up until it just barely covers your filling.  Press firmly and evenly along the bamboo or silicon, to give the roll a tight, uniform shape.  Continue rolling the nori sheet, being careful not to roll the bamboo or silicon “into” your Maki Sushi.

picture681Step 10) When you get to the top inch, dip your finger in water or vinegar and run your finger along the top edge of the nori.  This will help to seal your Maki Sushi.  Set aside, seam side down, and continue with your next roll.

Step 11) Slice each roll into 8 pieces using a very shart, non-serrated knife.

Step 12) After the effort that led you to this last step, be sure to respect the Japanese tradition of presenting food in an artful manner.  Have fun with this!  Put some thought into arranging your Maki Sushi on individual serving plates or a buffet platter, and garnish as you see fit.  Remember that wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce are traditional condiments, but don’t be afraid to experiment with other dipping sauces and toppings.

Last but not least… It really is OK to pop an entire piece of Maki Sushi into your mouth.  When pieces are small enough to make this feasible, eating Maki Sushi in one bite is considered proper etiquette.  If the pieces are too large, though, don’t worry about it.

Do you have questions? Ideas for combinations of fillings? Perhaps a photo of your own Maki Sushi that you’d like to share? Crowded Earth Kitchen welcomes your comments, below!