When: January 19th, 2009
Where: Maki (In the Arbor Square Shopping Center)
What I had: Sides: Miso Soup and Edamame Rolls: The concept allows you to create your own so here goes: Smoked Salmon w/cream cheese, mango, cucumber, sesame seeds, chili powder, and "teriyaki sauce." Tuna w/tuna, asparagus, avocado, sprouts, and strawberries with a sweet chili sauce. Salmon w/jalapenos, avocado, green onion and a chili sesame oil. Fruit Roll Up a roll with mango, mandarin orange, strawberry, and cream cheese.
Since it is a New Year I am going to transition this food blog into a more personal and journalistic type review rather than a straight forward this is what I had-this is what I thought blog. So here we go. I just heard of Maki (pronounced: Mah-key) today. Claire told me about it with all sorts of exuberance and excitement. So we made plans to try it for dinner tonight. All I knew was that it was in the Arbor Walk shopping center and it was "make your own sushi."
So I couldn't decide if I would actually make/roll/cut my own sushi or if I would "build" the roll ala Freebird's style. Come to find out Maki runs along the same veins as Chipotle and Freebirds. I have to say the concept is brilliant for Sushi.
Charlie and the lovely Emily joined us for dinner at the fluorescent lit and lime green strip mall restaurant. While it was standard garb for this type of in-between fast food it was still somewhat sterile and hard for a dining establishment. The only art was few swirls on the walls with some different phrases involving "roll" in them and the menus on the wall. Oh well, onto the ordering we went. Like I said it is laid out Freebird's style. You choose a traditional seaweed wrap or a soy wrap, pick a meat (many to choose from) and then fill it with veggies/fruit and finish it off with a sauce. As you proceed to the cash register you can pick up some miso soup, edamame, seaweed salad, or Asian salad. Our meal (Edamame, 2 Rolls, Miso Soup, and a Ice Tea) cost us a total of $16 and some change. We got edamame which came standard with salt. It also tasted standard, but then again the simplicity of it is what it makes it taste so great. The Miso soup was unremarkable. Not really bad but somewhat bland for a soup that usually has a powerful and warming flavor. Charlie's salmon roll was above and beyond my favorite roll of the night. While all the ingredients of all the rolls were fresh, the flavors on his combined to have the best effect on my taste buds. It came across as a bit smokey I think due to the chili sesame oil. It just had a nice heat to it and a great crunch with the thick strips of jalapeno.
My Tuna roll packed some heat, which is what I was going for. However I was hoping to counter that with the strawberry. The strawberry lost it's battle with the Chili and was simply overpowered, overwhelmed, and was hidden away in the avocado and rice. Claire's smoked salmon was good. As always Cream Cheese is the star of the roll because in general cream cheese dominates any ones palate.
Emily got the "special" roll: the Fruit Roll Up. It would be a good dessert sushi if such a thing existed. I guess this can be the start of sushi for dessert.
But I found it to be kinda mushy. After about an hour of conversation we decided the hard, modern lime green chairs were too much for us and proceeded outside to discuss our satisfaction with Maki.
I truly think in a few years you will see a ton of this style/concept of sushi restaurant popping up all over. For 8 or so dollars you can't beat the freshness of seeing sushi prepared before your eyes. It all has a solid taste and you get to be the one in control of what you are eating. You can be as basic or as complex and unique as you'd like. That is the brilliance behind this idea. It allows even non-fish eaters to come join the fun with beef and chicken options. It allows for expanding upon the menu, expanding of the concept, and expanding peoples ideas of what constitutes good sushi. No, it isn't super high end, but it isn't trying to be. Maki is attempting to appeal to the masses and to quick lunch goers and that is what it does in high fashion and in a laid back unpretentious way.
I hope they come up with some more unique ways to customize your roll. For a first time concept it is great. I will be going back and I will be challenging my inner sushi chef each time to create something great.
Can't Miss: Creative, unique concept - Customizable rolls - friendly service - cheap, decent quality sushi
Could do Without: Hard Chairs - Bright lights - Bland Miso Soup