4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Los Sushi Lovers makes sense of Mexican fusion

Memorable rolls find influence in taco shop trends and mariscos

The Lovers Roll: salmon, krab, and avocado, topped with a pile of diced mangos, strawberries, jalapeños, and cilantro
The Lovers Roll: salmon, krab, and avocado, topped with a pile of diced mangos, strawberries, jalapeños, and cilantro

Other than the word sushi itself, there’s usually not much to learn about a sushi restaurant by looking at its name. Sometimes, if there’s a Japanese word, you can run it through an online translator to gain some understanding about the brand. But you’re more likely to discover the word doesn’t translate, because it’s simply the name of the chef who opened the place. Which may tell you who’s slicing the fish, but not much else.

Los Sushi lovers parks six days a week in the same Highland Avenue location, outside Don John Market.

However, in the case of a sushi food truck that’s been parking outside a small corner market in National City for the past few months, its name offers a subtle yet telling character clue. If this truck merely called itself Sushi Lovers, you might expect to find the usual allotment of rolls featuring salmon and shrimp and maybe crunchy fried tempura batter.

Instead, the truck is named Los Sushi Lovers, and the addition of that little, three-letter article changes everything.

Flamin' Hot Cheeto crumbs give the Don Cheto Roll its distinctive red color.

I’ve been excited by the prospect of Mexican fusion sushi in the past, only to be let down by meager nods to a spicier palate of Mexican cuisine. A familiar roll might add sliced jalapeño, for example, or swap sriracha-infused spicy mayo for the spice of chipotle peppers. And to be fair, Los Sushi Lovers does stuff like this. The dozens of rolls on its menu include many sushi standards, made with salmon and shrimp and crunchy fried tempura batter, and no attempt to add a latino twist to the maki tradition.

But, obviously, I’m not going to focus on those items. It’s much more fun to look for ways this bilingual business makes light hearted references to taco trends, or to a marriage of fruit, chili, and seafood that delights mariscos fans.

Which led me straight away to the signature, Lovers Roll ($14). Inside, it’s imitation crab and cucumber, while the top of the roll is packed with salmon and avocado. What makes it distinct is what’s tossed on top of the roll: diced mango, strawberry, jalapeño, and cilantro.

A different kind of sushi roll, the Pio Pio roll features tempura fried chicken (or shrimp) inside, fried banana on top.

Now, I’m a guy who’s still not a hundred percent convinced krab and salmon belong together in the same roll, so embracing a pile of fruity garnish truly took some faith. But it works. In fact, after my first couple bites, I tried a piece without the fruit, et al., and it tasted lacking by comparison. Okay, it tasted exactly like a salmon, krab, and avocado roll should taste, but just like that I missed the brightness the berries and peppers provided.

A second roll I could not possibly resist ordering was the Don Cheto ($11). It takes shrimp tempura — rolled up with crab, cucumber, and cream cheese — and tops the thing off with a slew of sauces, jalapeños, and what’s become a latter day taco shop add-on: the unmistakable bright red dust of crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos.

I was spotted eating this one by a couple customers waiting in line, and when they asked what I thought, all I could come up with is: it tastes like regular sushi, just with a little added kick.

Closed Mondays, the truck parks the other six days a week in front of the small Don John market and carnicería (431 North Highland Avenue, National City) where its dedicated space is at least permanent enough to warrant a Los Sushi Lovers mural on a storefront otherwise painted with the colors of the Mexican flag. It entertained brisk business on a weekend afternoon while I waited to order and eat, some of it in the form of pre-ordered catering trays, some of it going out with delivery drivers.

While I sat, I definitely heard more sushi being ordered in Spanish than I have in my life, which lets me know this peculiar food truck is finding its audience. But no one else seemed willing to take a chance on the most peculiar sushi roll of the bunch.

The Pio Pio roll ($10) features cucumber and either tempura shrimp or chicken inside, and is topped with long slices of — no kidding — fried banana! I’ve never heard of any dish combining banana and fried chicken, and though the sweet and salty, crunchy meets creamy roll didn’t invoke the sushi experience as I tend to think of it, its creativity did win me over, and I would really — again, no kidding — order it again.

But even more so: I can’t wait to see what else the folks behind Los Sushi Lovers come up with.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

San Diego Asian Film Festival 2021 sampler

Reviews of Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, Inside the Red Brick Wall, and Islands
The Lovers Roll: salmon, krab, and avocado, topped with a pile of diced mangos, strawberries, jalapeños, and cilantro
The Lovers Roll: salmon, krab, and avocado, topped with a pile of diced mangos, strawberries, jalapeños, and cilantro

Other than the word sushi itself, there’s usually not much to learn about a sushi restaurant by looking at its name. Sometimes, if there’s a Japanese word, you can run it through an online translator to gain some understanding about the brand. But you’re more likely to discover the word doesn’t translate, because it’s simply the name of the chef who opened the place. Which may tell you who’s slicing the fish, but not much else.

Los Sushi lovers parks six days a week in the same Highland Avenue location, outside Don John Market.

However, in the case of a sushi food truck that’s been parking outside a small corner market in National City for the past few months, its name offers a subtle yet telling character clue. If this truck merely called itself Sushi Lovers, you might expect to find the usual allotment of rolls featuring salmon and shrimp and maybe crunchy fried tempura batter.

Instead, the truck is named Los Sushi Lovers, and the addition of that little, three-letter article changes everything.

Flamin' Hot Cheeto crumbs give the Don Cheto Roll its distinctive red color.

I’ve been excited by the prospect of Mexican fusion sushi in the past, only to be let down by meager nods to a spicier palate of Mexican cuisine. A familiar roll might add sliced jalapeño, for example, or swap sriracha-infused spicy mayo for the spice of chipotle peppers. And to be fair, Los Sushi Lovers does stuff like this. The dozens of rolls on its menu include many sushi standards, made with salmon and shrimp and crunchy fried tempura batter, and no attempt to add a latino twist to the maki tradition.

But, obviously, I’m not going to focus on those items. It’s much more fun to look for ways this bilingual business makes light hearted references to taco trends, or to a marriage of fruit, chili, and seafood that delights mariscos fans.

Which led me straight away to the signature, Lovers Roll ($14). Inside, it’s imitation crab and cucumber, while the top of the roll is packed with salmon and avocado. What makes it distinct is what’s tossed on top of the roll: diced mango, strawberry, jalapeño, and cilantro.

A different kind of sushi roll, the Pio Pio roll features tempura fried chicken (or shrimp) inside, fried banana on top.

Now, I’m a guy who’s still not a hundred percent convinced krab and salmon belong together in the same roll, so embracing a pile of fruity garnish truly took some faith. But it works. In fact, after my first couple bites, I tried a piece without the fruit, et al., and it tasted lacking by comparison. Okay, it tasted exactly like a salmon, krab, and avocado roll should taste, but just like that I missed the brightness the berries and peppers provided.

A second roll I could not possibly resist ordering was the Don Cheto ($11). It takes shrimp tempura — rolled up with crab, cucumber, and cream cheese — and tops the thing off with a slew of sauces, jalapeños, and what’s become a latter day taco shop add-on: the unmistakable bright red dust of crushed Flaming Hot Cheetos.

I was spotted eating this one by a couple customers waiting in line, and when they asked what I thought, all I could come up with is: it tastes like regular sushi, just with a little added kick.

Closed Mondays, the truck parks the other six days a week in front of the small Don John market and carnicería (431 North Highland Avenue, National City) where its dedicated space is at least permanent enough to warrant a Los Sushi Lovers mural on a storefront otherwise painted with the colors of the Mexican flag. It entertained brisk business on a weekend afternoon while I waited to order and eat, some of it in the form of pre-ordered catering trays, some of it going out with delivery drivers.

While I sat, I definitely heard more sushi being ordered in Spanish than I have in my life, which lets me know this peculiar food truck is finding its audience. But no one else seemed willing to take a chance on the most peculiar sushi roll of the bunch.

The Pio Pio roll ($10) features cucumber and either tempura shrimp or chicken inside, and is topped with long slices of — no kidding — fried banana! I’ve never heard of any dish combining banana and fried chicken, and though the sweet and salty, crunchy meets creamy roll didn’t invoke the sushi experience as I tend to think of it, its creativity did win me over, and I would really — again, no kidding — order it again.

But even more so: I can’t wait to see what else the folks behind Los Sushi Lovers come up with.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Rose Canyon Fault’s annual slip is about 2-3mm per year.

California Geological Survey releases new earthquake maps
Next Article

Daily News Cafe: looks like a breakfast-all-day

In our search for new variations, we sometimes forget how good the originals are.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close