Eat This Now: Takuwan Sushi From AnQi
I may be Catholic-lite, but one season I abide by is Lent. And while going without meat for a few Fridays may seem like no big deal to many of you, when I'm starved for a meal, nuts and fish don't quite cut it.
Every time I dine out, I'm looking for alternatives, entrees and sides my carnivore tendencies won't mind every now and then. That moment I forget I'm having something vegetarian (or vegan!) is when I know to take note.
AnQi by Crustacean is best known for their sleek interior and garlic noodles, but one of their Asian tapas particularly impressed me. We counted no less than seven components in our takuwan maki. Served at lunch, dinner and both happy hours, it seems like a lot of work for eight bites. Wasabi and soy sauce were an afterthought, replaced by one unexpected condiment: curry.
The other players in my sushi gave strong supporting roles. Tempura offered crunch, while avocado and carrot made my roll eye-catching. Mirin coaxes a hint of sweetness when it cooks down eggplant. Roasted beets, earthy asparagus and gobo root are packed in there. The pickled daikon, to which my appetizer owes its name to, almost gets lost in the shuffle. My favorite part, though, is the chef's choice to incorporate a non-traditional ingredient. A golden pool of spices is accented with a hint of furikake. Yet it manages to not overpower the rest of the dish. The flavors pair so well together, I had that Lenten moment: Mental note made.