Byron Recommends: Maki Rolls at Mitsuba Sushi

Some forty years ago our collective culinary sensibility stumbled onto the vast expanse of Asian cuisines. We graduated from our fondness for Indian curry-houses and westernized Chinese cooking to the tasty innovations and the highest echelons of dining not only from India and China, but also from Thailand and Viet Nam and of course, Japan. We became instant aficionados of the signature (and pricey) Japanese raw-fish concoctions, generically known as sushi.

Sushi is not simply food. In its home-country a sushi-bar is the setting for drunken-sociability where those that can afford it assemble with friends and business associates to commune over tasty morsels and rivers of sake.

For us it became a fun and daring game, underlined by a sophistication that proved we had moved beyond our “normal” food-fetishes (though we didn’t really—we still swear by our burgers) up to the rarefied stratum of an exotic pleasure. Sushi bars proliferated with great alacrity and became the gustatory thrill of choice for wannabe gourmets everywhere.

Sushi is available fairly widely right here in Vallarta. I choose to enjoy mine on the patio of Mitsuba on the leafy main-street of Sauces, about a mile south of Pitillal. I opt for makis, the most entertaining form of sushi, where bits of fish/ seafood/vegetables are snugly lined on rice and wrapped in nori (dried seaweed). The California rolls (with shrimp and avocado) are as good as the ones in L.A., while equally commendable is the variety with scallops (Especial de Callo) as well as the Alaska with its breaded fried shrimp.

The food is prepared expertly by owner-chef Sajhid and served with verve and charm by his youthful nephew, Daniel. Service with a smile always makes the sushi go down better; when the smile is so genuine, so very untainted, then we are disarmed and order everything on the menu. Including a very creditable miso soup.

MITSUBA SUSHI can be found at Las Torres 133 Col. Sauces, Puerto Vallarta. Call 322-184-0824 for more info.

Byron Ayanoglu
Byron Ayanoglu is a writer of many hues. Memoirist, travel columnist, cookbook author, film-scenarist, playwright, restaurant reviewer, novelist. His most recently published novels are A Traveler's Tale and Fresh Blood, which followed Istanbul to Montréal (simultaneously published in a Turkish version); a memoir, Crete on the Half Shell (published in four languages; optioned for film); and a satirical romance Love in the Age of Confusion. Widely traveled, Byron speaks five languages and lives about forty miles north of Montreal.