Do you like sushi? How about sweet plantains? If you said yes to both, it's time for you to check out MamaSushi. Plenty of fans are already flocking to this restaurant known for its Japanese food with a Caribbean twist, and its original location in Inwood has quickly spawned a second in Harlem and one more planned for New Jersey.
And with word that the location on Broadway and 146th Street is expanding into the space next door, now's a good opportunity to see what the buzz is all about.
Having trouble grasping the concept? All will be revealed once you walk into the modern, red-and-black space. Large Japanese motifs adorn the walls and are interspersed with silhouettes of real and fictional Dominican characters (from wrestler Jack Veneno to a simple Dominican farmer).
The menu is just as bold and surprising, but if you're with someone who's afraid to venture too far from traditional sushi, there's plenty of nigiri and maki to choose from. (The menu is huge, offering salads, tempura, Kobe beef burgers, and even Thai dishes.)
But the Dominican rolls are the menu's sweet spot–ingredients include the aforementioned plantains as well as white cheese, cilantro and chicharron–and it might take you a while to read through MamaSushi's 40-plus house rolls.
You can go completely seafood-free with La Chapiadora (white cheese, sweet plantains and avocado topped with Dominican chicken stew) or try something more Asian-inflected, like the Hot Mama (tuna tartare, smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado, jalapeño and sweet plantains). All rolls arrive with a choice of three sauces, including one that's sweet and one that's spicy.
Whatever roll (or dish) you end up going with, it's sure to be fun and totally unexpected–think of it as a tropical vacation away from your everyday sushi experience.