Mexican sushi might be the biggest food trend to come out of northern Mexico since the Sonoran dog first landed in Arizona.
If you've never tried the Mexican-Japanese fusion concept, prepare yourself for the slight shock of seeing your favorite maki rolls stuffed with unconventional fillings like carne asada, pollo, bacon, and pretty much anything else the house sushero or shushera (sushi chef) feels like throwing into a roll. Most Mexi-sushi rolls are panko-breaded and deep-fried, then doused with creamy, boldly flavored sauces like chipotle mayo, or possibly even garnishes of bacon and hot sauce. If you're curious about trying Mex-sushi for yourself, check out these spots in metro Phoenix.
1. Sushi Sonora
Sushi Sonora is the oldest Mex-sushi spot in town, serving up sushi rolls with a decidedly Sonoran bent. That means you'll find rolls like the Sushi Dog, a kind of mash-up of the state's famous Sonoran dog and a sushi roll. As you may expect, the roll comes stuffed with smoky nubs of bacon and hot dog, plus lots of cream cheese and avocado. The most popular roll here might be the Dinamita (dynamite) roll, a shrimp tempura roll served with imitation crab salad and garnished with black sesame seeds.
2. Extreme Sushi
This small Mex-sushi spot, tucked in an aging strip mall near 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road, is not easy to find. But it's worth seeking out for its menu of Sinaloan-style sushi specialties, which include the Aguachile Roll, a seafood-lovers' roll stuffed with shrimp and crab, then ladled with its namesake spicy shrimp cocktail. And if you're craving a spicy roll, look no further than the Extreme Roll, a shrimp roll topped with a fiery chipotle and eel sauce.
3. El Tataki Sushi
El Tataki Sushi is a sleek and sunny sit-down spot with a full bar and patio dining, located across the street from the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale. The restaurant offers both traditional and Mexican sushi, with an extensive selection of Sinaloan-inspired rolls like the baked, cheesy Culichi Roll, which comes with scallops, crab meat, and salmon, all buried under a cap of cheese and sauce. El Tataki also offers flashier rolls like the Flaming Lotus, a baked crab and Langostino lobster roll that is flambéed tableside on a steel pan.
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4. Tacos Kissi
Tacos Kissi, a popular counter-service spot for tacos and burritos spot near 27th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, offers a small but memorable selection of Mexican sushi rolls. The rolls here are a little more subdued than what you'll find at other Mex-sushi spots, but that's not a bad thing. The restaurant's Mar y Tierra roll, made with steak and shrimp, is simple but flavorful.
Sushinola, which has both a food truck and brick-and-mortar location in the West Valley, specializes in sushi made Sinaloa-style. That means lots of rolls inspired by classic seafood dishes, including a tasty shrimp aguachile roll. Sushinola also has one of the most creative menus in town - come here for specialties like the mango roll, which is stuffed with shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, and slivers of mango.
6. Señor Sushi
From the outside, Señor Sushi, which is located near 43rd Avenue and Indian School Road, looks like any other drab strip mall joint. But step inside and you'll find a spacious restaurant and bar, dressed up with a red-and-black color scheme and Japanese-inspired decor. The expansive menu includes traditional sushi rolls and light Japanese-inspired fare, along with "Latino" specialties like the popular Cielo, Mar y Tierra, a surf-and-turf roll made with shrimp, beef, and chicken. One of the tastiest rolls on the menu is the Kamikaze, which is stuffed with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and avocado, and then topped with a fiery dribble of the house "Señor" hot sauce.
7. Sushi Mocorito
The Sushi Mocorito food truck may not be glamorous or sleek - the sushi truck is parked nightly next to an abandoned gas station near the intersection of 35th Avenue and Van Buren Street - but the atmosphere here is friendly and convivial. The extensive sushi menu includes Mexi-sushi standards like the Guamuchilito, a crab and shrimp roll topped with tampico, an imitation crab salad made with spicy mayonnaise that garnishes many of the rolls on the menu.