Keep it Sushi-like at Hai Street Kitchen

 Hai Street Kitchen opened at the end of May and has been busy every since. Philly seems to be responding well to  oversized, sushi rolls made to order with traditional and non traditional ingredients.  I waited a bit for my chance to try them, the line out the door the first week was too much for a quick lunch break. When I went, the line was contained to the inside and moved fast.  Pick a protein, sauce, and vegetables or choose from 6 preset signature rolls. Set up like other build your own style places, you make your way down the counter as your ingredients are added to your roll.  

The rolls are wrapped  tightly, sliced in half,  and placed in convenient cardboard containers.  The nori was fun to tear through and the proportion of the filling and rice seemed perfect.

I first tried the Mexicana, a signature combo that comes with pork belly, tomatillo salsa, spring mix, carrot, sautéed onion, and green papaya salad.  The strips of pork belly were not the luscious chunks I was hoping for and had layers of unenjoyable fat.  I also learned that the lettuce/ rice combo was strange for me. 

Maybe I could come up with something better on my own?

Hoping to try the chicken katsu, I pouted when I was told the fryer was down.  Wavering between the steak and the shrimp, I chose shrimp, which meant 2 pieces of shrimp tempura. To go with it, red cabbage, pickled mango, sauteed onions and spicy mayo.  I was worried it wouldn’t be enough shrimp, but I loved my other ingredients so much, it wasn’t an issue.  I highly recommend going with my lettuce-less strategy. Lettuce is best kept away from sushi. The red cabbage works much better with the rice. The picked mango brought in some nice acid. The spicy mayo gave a bit of a traditional flavor, and who doesn’t like spicy mayo with their sushi?

After taxes, the rolls were just under $9. The ingredients were relatively healthy and I felt good after eating it; not gross or lethargic.  I didn’t need to “go zilla,” the larger size for $2; the size of the roll left me satisfied. Around the city, a typical sushi lunch looks like 2 rolls for $8 or 3 for $11 plus a soup. A Hai Street roll is pretty comperable in amount of food, plus you get to customize your ingredients, making this a great alternative when the sushi craving hits. The only thing missing is spicy tuna!

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Customizable oversized sushi rolls is a  fun novelty and also delicious
  • Fast and pretty healthy

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • No spicy tuna
  • The pork belly is not great

Hai Street Kitchen, 32 S 18th Street, 215 964-9465


1 Comment

  • “the size of the roll left me satisfied”

    Who doesn’t like an agreeable reviewer?

    I’m sure Wayne has something to say about the ‘zilla-sized ones, though.

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