Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Poke from New Sushi Inc, Boston

New Sushi is fairly new to Boston, opened in 2016.  While the restaurant name is "new sushi", they don't actually serve any sushi, or at least, any nigiri or standard rolls.  Instead, they offer, well, "new" style sushi, that is ... sushi burritos.  And poke bowls.  So on trend.

And, as much as I hate being into trends, well, they are ones I get behind (e.g. I love Sushiritto in SF for the sushi burritos, and during my recent travels to Seattle and southern California, I've gotten a bit addicted to poke bowls ... like Cubed Poke and Pok√©works in Irvine, CA, Pok√©works in Mountain View, CA, MIX Poke Bar in Bellevue, WA, and, more locally, Big Fish Little Fish in San Francisco). 

So when I was in Boston staying just one night in a hotel near the airport ... poke delivery called out.

New Sushi offers 3 options for your creation: a burrito (sushi rice and seaweed wrap), a poke bowl (sushi rice or white sticky rice base), or a salad bowl (romaine base).  All come with choice of 2 or 3 proteins, 1 sauce, up to 6 regular toppings, and 2 crunch toppings.  Most places allow you to pay extra for more toppings, but, New Sushi does not.  Want al 4 crunch toppings?  So, no luck.
Delivery Create Your Own.
I didn't visit in person, rather, opted for delivery (via DoorDash) to my hotel room on a very, very cold night, but I know the concept is Chipotle style, with everything laid out and assembled to order.

My order came quickly, no drama, and the bowl was clearly handled with care, not mixed around, and nicely assembled.

For proteins, you can select 1-2 for a regular bowl, and 1-3 for a large, from a set of 6 options, 3 standard raw poke style seafoods (tuna, albacore tuna, salmon), 1 cooked seafood (tempura shrimp), 1 vegetarian (tofu skin), and 1 ... chicken.

For sauce, you pick only one (boo!), again out of 6 options, including creamy mayo bases (spicy mayo, classic mayo, wasabi mayo) and lighter options (spicy ponzu, ginger sauce, and "yazu" sauce ... whatever that is).

Next, up to 6 toppings, out of a list of 12, mostly basic veggies (romaine, cucumber, red onion, cabbage, jalapeno, carrot), crunchy things (tobika, sesame seeds), plus the standard higher end add-ins (avocado, seaweed salad, and crab salad), and a more unique choice of Japanese pickle.

And finally, two crunch toppings out of four: onion, scallion, or garlic crisps, and shredded nori.
Regular Create Your Own:  $10.50.
My order was:
  • Base: Salad Bowl.
  • Protein: Shrimp Tempura, Tofu Skin.
  • Sauce: Spicy Ponzu. (on the side).
  • Toppings: Cabbage, Crab Salad (x2), Japanese Pickle, Seaweed Salad, Sesame Seeds.
  • Crunch: Scallion Crispy, Shredded Nori
Yes, not really a "poke bowl", as I didn't have rice, nor raw fish.  Let's just call it a Japanese-ish salad?  I feel silly, since I don't actually like poke (meh, rice, and I just haven't been into raw fish lately), but, well, I adore bowls like this.

The base was actually fairly boring, chunks of romaine.  I prefer more interesting mixed greens or kale, but they only offered romaine.  I was impressed by the quality.  Clearly very fresh, very crisp, juicy, not wilted, not browned, etc.  Very good ... but it was romaine.

The crunchy toppings were good, a pile of chopped shredded nori in the center, some crunchy crispy bits of scallion on one side.  I would have liked even more of these, or some of any of the other crunchy toppings, just cuz I adore crunch, but, the amount was reasonable, and both were good.

The sesame seed topping was sprinkled all over the top which added a bit more crunch too.

The other toppings were all arranged in piled around the exterior of the bowl.

The cabbage (purple) was fresh and crisp, a nice compliment to the romaine, good portion, just enough not dominant.  It made me wonder about a "poke" bowl with a cabbage/slaw base rather than greens?

The seaweed salad was also a good portion, a nice mound, but I didn't really like it as much as most.  It didn't seem to have much marinade nor flavor to it. It was fine, but, boring.
My Bowl: Under the Toppings.
The "Japanese Pickles" turned out to be takuan, slices of pickled daikon.  Crisp, but, I didn't care for the flavor (and I do like takuan).  There was more of this than any other topping, and it kinda dominated (which, would be great, ifI liked it).

My final topping was the crab salad (fake crab) which I asked for double of since I adore it (enough to have a label on my blog devoted to it!), but, since it was a delivery order, I did that via the comments section in the ordering tool, and I'm pretty sure this was just a single serving.

I loved it.  Loved it, loved it, loved it.  Shredded "krab", creamy mayo base.  I seriously would have been happy with just a big bowl of this and some crunchy toppings.

For my actual protein choices, I went for the shrimp tempura and tofu skin, since I haven't been into raw fish lately, and I dislike chicken.

The shrimp tempura was an amazing surprise.  I think it was just one piece of shrimp, chopped up into a few pieces, but it was excellent.  Flavorful, great batter, somehow still crisp, and the shrimp itself wasn't fishy at all.  Really shockingly good.

The tofu skin was eh.  Marinated, chopped up, but, not particularly flavorful nor interesting.  I wish I could have just had two shrimp tempura!

And finally, sauce, which I asked for on the side.  I went for the spicy ponzu (because I had a spicy mayo sauce in the fridge already), and it wasn't particularly good.  Certainly not spicy.  Mostly just tasted like soy sauce.  I was glad I had my other sauce to dunk the shrimp tempura in, and the crab salad had so much creaminess already that I didn't need more for that.

So, overall, there were some highlights (the crab salad! The shrimp tempura!), but, overall, I don't feel compelled to order from New Sushi again, unless I really could double up on the shrimp tempura and crab salad, and add on more crunchy toppings.

Regular size was plenty, and decent for the $10.50 price.
"Chips". $2.
The list of sides available is meager: edamame, seaweed salad, and chips.

Most poke places offer chips ... they are usually taro chips, usually made in house.  So I eagerly added "chips" onto my order, slightly concerned because the menu didn't specify what kind of chips, but also didn't offer any options.  If the chips were just regular potato chips, surely, they'd have options, right?

Apparently ... wrong.

Really, I paid $2 for a tiny bag of plain Lay's potato chips?  Boo to this.
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