The unknown variables that come with unemployment have robbed me of any desire to splurge on high-quality sushi, which is a shame really, because sushi is one of a few foods that my body and palate actually crave.
There was a time in my life when a boat full of Costco manufactured California Rolls with a few packets of Kikkoman satisfied my sushi fix, but I can’t seem to stomach the stuff these days—I may be down, but I’m hardly out. On the search for budget-friendly sushi alternatives, I decided to give Mako Bowl a try.
Mako Bowl is a local chain that specializes in Japanese food served in plastic bowls. The bill of fare includes Teriyaki chicken bowls, tempura bowls, udon noodles, edamame and a plethora of other Japanese and Japanese-American fare. On my visit, I went with a Spicy Tuna Bowl with avocado ($8.25).
The Spicy Tuna Bowl consisted of a good-sized portion of warm and vinegary sushi rice topped with mushy spicy tuna, sesame seeds and avocado. The bowl was garnished with pickled ginger and a wedge of lemon that I had no idea what to do with. I seasoned the whole bowl with a drizzle of soy sauce, and dug right in.
My first bite was quite good—the avocado was nice and ripe, while the fish was well-seasoned and surprisingly spicy. The rice tied all of the flavors together and fooled my taste buds into thinking it was actually eating sushi. Score! However, my second bite was a completely different story. Two words: Frozen. Fish.
I brought my partially eaten bowl to the front counter and reported the frigid news. The cashier’s response was pretty funny, “it’s only a little frozen,” he said. My Spicy Tuna Bowl was replaced with another, but I couldn’t shake the fact that I was eating fish that was once frozen. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to food preparation.
Food critic Frank Bruni wrote about affordable sushi options in New York City a few weeks back in the Times, including a nod for Kanoyama. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for similarly good deals in my corner of Pasadena. Mako Bowl just ain’t cutting it.
950 E. Colorado Blvd. Ste. 101
Pasadena, CA 91106