One of the most consistently promising kiosks at Food & Wine for us has been Japan. While some of the offerings aren’t too far removed from what you may find at your local Japanese restaurant (such as a Spicy Tuna Roll as seen in 2011), the kiosk always tried to incorporate something a little bit more interesting (like last year’s Pork Kakuni and 2010′s Wafu Ribettes).
2012 introduces two hand rolls, and while I still do want to try the Spicy Hand Roll, the Karaage Hand Roll was definitely a new item I had to try. The Karaage was one of the items from the original, shortly lived Kabuki Cafe menu in the Otsumami selections (alongside Wafu Ribs).
When I received the hand roll, it wasn’t like the cone-shaped hand rolls I’ve received at every Japanese restaurant to which I’ve ever been. It still looked darn tasty, though!
The size of the hand roll is a great value, as there were about 5 average sized sushi pieces in the roll. The spicy mayonnaise was really quite delicious and was a great compliment to both the rice and chicken. Its heat level was also on point in complementing the rice and chicken. I believe we may have dipped the hand roll in every last bit!
The chicken itself was surprisingly moist, and the fried essence came though. Some of the crispness held up as well. Personally, I’ll take sushi with fish any day, but I really appreciated this roll, and think it’s a great addition for those who may be wary about eating raw seafood.
Matt, being a HUGE fan of Teriyaki, ordered the Sukiyaki Beef Pan. We had both enjoyed the Sukiyaki Beef Roll previously, but this year I wasn’t too enthused about the description. When it arrived, my worst fears had come true. It just looked plain bad. Chopped meat and a few sparse onions with a squirt of Teriyaki sauce. On a dry hot dog bun.
Matt thought it was okay, but one bite and I was angry with myself for giving it that much of a chance. Even his description was “It’s like Steak-umms.” Yeah, no thanks.
So for both of us, the Karaage Hand Roll was pretty darn good, and the Sukiyaki Beef Pan split us between edible and WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS?!
I know we’ll be trying more items from Japan during the festival, so stay tuned! In the meantime, let us know how your experiences have been.