Yesterday I was invited to a preview of Fish in the Blanket by El Gitano. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I always feels a little trepidation when someone is going all fusion on something I love just the way it is.
When I arrived the staff was working like mad to prepare for today's soft opening and I was able to see the line presentation for the first time. What I saw looked delicious: lots of fresh veggies. Since I'm crazy about fresh food I was intrigued. It's presented in a similar way to the burrito station which means lots of choices and an easy way to make sure nothing goes into your meal that you don't want.
For this preview and for today's soft opening, they do not have the sushi burritos yet. They are working on sourcing the correct sized seaweed wraps which is a bit harder than you might think. When you have a new idea it can often be hard to find the correct ingredients from vendors, and that is what Fish in the Blanket has been dealing with. So, instead of trying to make the wrong thing work, they will hold off on the burritos and launch with the Poki Bowls first. As it turns out, this is not a problem.
That said, I won't lie. I felt a twinge of disappointment when there were not burritos but I wanted to give the Poki Bowls a chance so I charged ahead. Since it's my first time trying this new dish I told him to just make it how he likes it and I didn't change anything about the bowl despite the fact it's fully customizable. So here is what he did. He put down a bed of sushi rice and then topped it with and AMAZING 100grms of spicy tuna. At that moment he had my attention. You never get that much fish in a sushi roll ever. It's impressive. Next, we added a bit of crab meat and put aside the first layer. In another bowl we mixed together all the veggies I wanted to eat: Kale, lettuce, green onion, ginger, cucumber, carrots, edamame, etc. He then mixed in a soy sesame sauce. After that mix was done he placed the salad on top of the fist and rice and added a lovely dressing which was topped with flying fish roe. The result was a gorgeous colorful bowl of adventure.
My first thoughts - while staring at the lovely pile of wonder - were, "Sure, it's lovely but holy crap that's a lot of sauce and this is very busy. Is this really going to work?" Well, these were stupid thoughts. The Spicy Tuna Poki Bowl, for lack of a more flowery description, classically amaze-balls, at least for me. I adore food that's fresh, but also crazy filling. I love sushi. I love salad. I love fish. I love spicy. Somehow he managed to get all of these things into one bowl. Also, it's a lot of food. This isn't a little sushi roll to hold you over until later. This is dinner. This is food you can go run along the river one. This is a meal. After the first bite I was sold and I loved it all the way to the end.
And it wasn't just me that thought so. I was so impressed that I brought one home to my husband who was like, "If he doesn't change a thing I'm going to want to eat this all the time." He also gave a taste to our housemate was was like, "Where can I get that and when?".
The Poki bowl is a huge hit in our house. We can't wait to see how the menu progresses and Fish in the Blanket. If everything is like what we had last night this is going to be a new habit.