Quick, casual and delicious sushi wraps at Gonpachi
Just two minutes away from Harajuku Station is the latest addition to the Gonpachi – aka the “Kill Bill” restaurant – restaurant chain, Gonpachi Nori-Temaki, specializing in temaki, or hand rolls.
Gonpachi Nori-Temaki aims to be a fine-casual restaurant, fusing the speed and convenience of fast-casual with the elevated decor, service and dishes of fine dining. And it successfully does just that with its warm wood interior exuding a relaxing atmosphere, quick service and carefully selected fresh ingredients.
Nori, or seaweed, is one of Japan’s greatest superfoods. Highly nutritious containing significant amounts of protein, calcium, a rich source of vitamins, fiber and more, it’s been said that “two sheets a day keeps the doctor away.” Gonpachi uses high grade kontobi nori, known for its fragrance, taste and texture, from Maruyama, a purveyor of seaweed to many Michelin-starred restaurants with more than 160 years of history.
Ordering is easy as you just grab the menu, write the number of temaki you want beside their names and hand it to a chef as you take a seat. These made-to-order nori wraps start at ¥350 per piece depending on the toppings. They disappear in a couple of bites though, so you might consider getting the set menus which will save you some yen.
We got to try a majority of the recommended temakis from classic combinations to Gonpachi specialties. A favorite for many, the crab and avocado had the perfect sauce marrying the two together while another favorite, the salmon and avocado featured fatty melt-in-your-mouth salmon and smooth avocado.
Both the salmon roe and sea urchin temaki are wrapped along with shiso perilla leaves which give them a refreshing aftertaste as opposed to the rich taste of the salmon roe and sea urchin. The toro (tuna) and takuan (pickled daikon radish) matches the soft fatty tuna and the crunch of the radish perfectly together, along with the crispy nori.
We also tried the plum and cucumber with cauliflower rice. The sourness of the umeboshi plum ties the whole wrap together and gives it a slight kick. Though cauliflower rice has been around for a while, it’s never been used for sushi in Japan. Gonpachi’s own recipe disguises the cauliflower well and you can barely tell that you’re not eating rice.
Many of these toppings offer the option to use cauliflower rice instead of normal vinegared sushi rice for an extra ¥50 so if you’re worried about the carbs that come with rice, opt for the healthy alternative.
You’ve got to hand it to Gonpachi, their hand rolls are delicious. So if you’re craving some light and casual sushi, why not grab a temaki?