Takeout Sushi with Soggy Nori Is Officially Over
Raise the lid from the wooden box, and inside, there it is: a single tubular hand roll, wrapped in crinkly transparent plastic.
Lift it out and place it gently on the counter in front of you. Dark green nori beckons seductively from beneath its plastic sheath. You then eagerly set about trying to free it by removing the wrapping, but the nori unrolls with the plastic, leaving its rice-and-tuna filling naked, vulnerable. What to do? Fortunately, there are some nearly comprehensible little pictogram instructions printed on the inside sheet of the plastic and, more helpful, large suggestive arrows. After one or two false starts, you peel back one panel of the inner layer of plastic outwards, from the centre to the left-hand side. Then, you roll the filling, from the plastic-covered right side of the nori to its freshly exposed left flank. Next, peel off the plastic at right and, finally, using the remaining exterior wrapping as a sort of single-use makisu mat, roll up the package snugly. Tuck in. And what do we have here? Crisp perfection. The fresh aromatic sleeve of nori breaks and splinters beneath the pressure of your advancing teeth. Then it mingles on the palate with the filling of firm, room-temperature rice, scallion and brightly seasoned chopped tuna to add to that already delightful mix a rich, toasted note, simultaneously vegetal and oceanic.
When the itamae at Toronto’s Tachi—casual outpost of the Shoushin and Masaki Saito restaurant group—decided to import these handy, texture-preserving nori envelopes from Japan, where they are commonplace, they didn’t want them packaged with any old nori. Instead, a bespoke supply was arranged, assembled and shipped directly from their chosen family-run, artisanal supplier on the Ariake Sea, where the nutrient-rich waters and dramatically swinging tides conspire to help produce the finest, most umami-rich nori in Japan. To all that we say: good thinking.
📷 Alfred Chow