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Border-Hopping at Mama Sushi: Japan Rolls with the DR

If you’re not careful, dining out can become as mundane as a check out line.

Cash, credit, debit?

What am I in the mood for?

Italian, Sushi, Mexican?

Trying out new flavor combinations can break this cycle, but this doesn’t equate to rummaging through your leftovers to compile a plate of cold pasta and teriyaki chicken, with a side of chips and salsa. Fusion restaurants are popping up all around New York that challenge the way we categorize types of cuisine. American-French, Latin-Italian, and Chinese-Cuban are just a few of the ways chefs are crossing boarders to deliver you a unique dining experience.

What’s There to Love About Fusion Food

1. Good for the indecisive. If you’re the type of person who goes through three outfit options just to step out for some milk, there’s a chance you’re just as undecided when you choose what to eat. You can skip the struggle and have it all when you opt for a fusion restaurant.

2. Promotes multiculturalism. What are we all doing living in this big melting pot if we can’t literally mix up what we put into our pots and pans? We can stop categorizing our seasoning and throw it all in there (tastefully) when exploring fusion territory.

3. That whole eating while you expand your horizons thing is a major plus. Like to multitask— how about triple-task? If you get a table at one of New York’s fusion spots, you can stuff your face and learn about the local flavors of Burgundy and … Philly?

4. It goes way beyond Tex-Mex People, fusion does not have to be merely Asian fusion or Americanized Mexican food. Fusion can be its own hybrid culture.

Mama Sushi in Manhattan’s northern most neighborhood, Inwood, is one of the more experimental dining ventures when it comes to hybrid cooking. Sushi fused with Hispanic style cuisines might initially seem counterintuitive —isn’t the point of sushi the whole raw fish thing?

Although many South American countries serve up a traditional dish called ceviche, which is completely uncooked fish, the marriage of Dominican and Japanese means warm sushi rolls stuffed with various kinds of meat, mostly cooked, and the infamous plantain. Check out this roll from Mama Sushi.

They call it El Montro ($15)— hanger steak, chicken tempura, fried white cheese and & sweet plantain topped with pico de gallo.

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Mama Sushi’s menu is chock-full of totally unique riffs on the typical sushi roll. Another Mama Sushi staple is the Mexicano Roll ($14). It artistically combines once again the beautiful invention of tempura (in this case shrimp tempura) paired with fried cheese, avocado and pico de gallo.

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4 Keys to a Japanese-Dominican Food Friendship

1. Warm & spicy sauces paired with fresh fish Picture chipotle sauce smothering a freshly cut salmon filet. Don’t get jealous, try it.

2. Reinventing the avocado by swapping it for guacamole Sushi gets a makeover with dollops of this miracle dip. It’s not one of those things you think about, you just know when you’ve found yet another food that guacamole goes perfectly with and thankfully sushi is a match.   

3. Marinated meats rolled into sticky rice Combine your love of spices with the inherent freshness of a perfectly crafted sushi roll. If you hadn’t noticed this whole article is about getting sushi to come out of its shell a little. Sprinkle a little paprika on her and she dazzles.

4. Fried cheese and delicate filet’s of meat & fish Okay you might think this is the weirdest but so is Phoebe Buffet and we can all agree she’s great, right? Seriously don’t shy away from this seemingly odd combination – there is a method to this phenomena that causes instant applause.

Can we all agree to reinvent the phrase food baby* as no longer a phantom pregnancy resulting from overeating and redefine it as it rightly deserves?

*Food Baby: A scientific term for when flavors from different geographical locations come together to create incredible food offspring.

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Bridget Kiley

Vermont native living in New York for the past four years. I studied Literature and Creative Writing at Pace University and continue to write short fiction, poetry, and for my blog The Witty Agent. In the kitchen, I am first and foremost a baker with a specialty for cupcakes and homemade frosting. I am always up for experimenting/improvising with recipes and discovering something amazing. I also have a profound love for musicals and reading Shakespeare out loud in a British accent.