Giant-sized hand roll or nori burrito? What’s certain is that this seamless fusion of influences opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
Rolltation owner Chris Wu sees the sushi burrito as a perfect fit for Toronto: it’s a trend that takes in the full breadth of our diverse food culture and appeals not only to our adventurous palates, but also to our energetic city’s interest in healthy options on the go.
Not content to stick to a Mexican/Japanese mashup, he has scoured the globe to find cuisines that are a natural fit for his feature dishes, taking inspiration from Korean, Chinese and Hawaiian cuisine as well as American soul food.
Diversity is on display behind the counter at the Dundas and University location as you take in the many fresh, colourful ingredients. These are assembled by Rolltation’s skilled rollers, who use a traditional sushi mat to create a roll big enough to grab like a burrito and eat while on the move. Alternatively, all of Rolltation’s menu items can be served as fresh salads or as Hawaiian-inspired pokés.
To get a sense of all the different styles on offer I ordered two signature rolls—the Classic Salmon and the 207 Rolltation—as well as the Wasabi Tuna poké. First up was the Classic Salmon. The number of ingredients looked truly mountainous, but wielding that trusty sushi mat, the expert roller managed to pack them all into a perfectly symmetrical roll. Biting into it was like eating a giant sushi hand roll, with traditional savoury and salty Japanese flavours and crunchy veggies. Then I got a burst of sweet mandarin orange that added a Hawaiian flair.
The 207 was like a southern picnic in a roll, with savoury deep-fried chicken, cabbage and jalapeño to add some spice. Unlike burritos, these rolls have a sushi-style nori (seaweed) wrapper and feature a pleasing combo of warm and cold.
The Wasabi Tuna poké featured buttery raw tuna on a bed of greens and rice with tangy, creamy wasabi sesame dressing. A lotus chip and tempura bits added a satisfying crunch.
A Rolltation roll is a deceptively filling meal. One would have been plenty and there was no way I could have finished everything I ordered in one sitting. Still, it is lighter than a traditional burrito. Delicious, healthy and convenient, this grab-and-go food makes sense in a busy city like Toronto.
Staff: Walter Muschenheim
Walter is a Toronto-based translator and writer. A real globetrotter, he has lived in France, Germany and the United States and explored Europe and Japan. On his adventures, he loves to learn about languages and food: the two cornerstones of culture!
207 Dundas St. W., Toronto | 647-351-8986
www.rolltation.com | OPEN: Daily 11 am–10 pm