Taste Test: Sushi Pizza at Itadaki
Welcome to Taste Test, where Chowder contributor Fiona Coxe samples buzzy dishes around town — and finds out whether they are worth the hype.
At Newbury Street newcomer Itadaki, the goal is to offer Japanese standards that are approachable to American palates — think eggroll-shaped fried gyoza “sticks,” slow-cooked pork belly pot pie and fried chicken katsu, which arrives resting atop a bed of crunchy potato sticks. While presenting novice-friendly cuisine is likely a smart move on the touristy shopping strip, fusion dishes have the tendency to be either successful or a disaster. With this notion in mind, I set out to give the sushi pizza a try.
An entire section of the menu is devoted to the Japanese-American-Italian-hybrid, which is available topped with crab meat, salmon tartare, or tuna sashimi. I settled on the crab meat version, which arrived quartered into bite-sized slices on a wooden platter. In lieu of a crust, the base of the dish patty-like rice cake, which was fried to a crisp golden brown and retained a pleasant gummy softness in the center. Toppings-wise, there’s no sauce or cheese to be found; instead, perched atop the rice cake is a generous heap of crab meat that’s layered with with mayo, arugula, avocado, cucumber, and tobiko caviar.
The crab was fresh, while the peppery arugula was a worthy match for the briny tobiko caviar. The mayo was a bit heavy handed, however, which overpowered the avocado. The accompanying soy sauce and wasabi only add to the flavor, while the side of spicy mayo is a bit overkill. Overall, the sushi pizza really had nothing to do with the standard sauce-and-cheese-on-crust version other than the shape, but we think it’s a good thing — and an example of fusion fare that really works.
(Itadaki, 269 Newbury Street, Boston. Info: itadakiboston.com.)