“If they’re going to be this popular,” said my wife as we settled into our two-person table at SotaRol, “they’re going to need a bigger space.”
You could say the craze has caught on down there in the 50th and France district. You’ve heard about this, right, the sushi burritos and rice bowls with tater tots? My wife and I went to try it, and got the second-to-last open table. It was around 1 p.m. on a Saturday, and our order number was 99.
SotaRol is happening, indeed, and this isn’t just novelty: the sushi burritos and fried bagel rolls, and even the pot stickers and rice bowls, are splendidly done. I don’t know what they were thinking when they made up this menu, but we could use a few more minds like this around here.
The Basics: You can find SotaRol next to Agraculture off Ewing Ave. and 50th St. A nearby lot should satisfy the need for a parking spot. SotaRol’s website.
It looks lively in SotaRol, very open. You can see everyone and everything. The name of the restaurant looms large on the left wall. Flannel and woodsy-patterned accents lurk throughout. It’s done just so: you don’t miss it, but you don’t get punched in the face by it.
We ordered potstickers, a lemongrass Sotarito, fried bagel sushi, and a shrimp tempura bowl. The food doesn’t come to you when it’s called. You go and get it. Order carefully, or wear good tightroping shoes.
The veggie pot stickers were fabulous, a light crunch and a rush of steam, a far cry from the soppy take-out schlock we’re accustomed to. The sweet chili sauce was a pleasant surprise.
The fried bagel sushi was the star of the show. Imagine a good, straight-forward salmon roll, bent just right with the crunch and creamy ooze of a cheese bagel. Do you see the extra-large piece at the end? That piece nearly ended our marriage.
So addicting was the tempura shrimp bowl, I didn’t set my chopsticks down once. It had many of the bagel roll’s characteristics, with a little earthiness for good measure.
Hey, should I pile two bites’ worth of this rice bowl onto the final pot sticker and ram it all into my mouth? My waistline after this meal? Not such a good measure.
Imagine a video game end boss that starts out miniature and mutates into a giant near the end of the fight. The SotaRito is that final form: the adornments you’d expect from a sushi roll, wrapped in soy paper, except three or four times as big. Even the wasabi comes in a dipping cup instead of the cute, oft-ignored puff on your plate corner. The SotaRito smashes, crushes and thumps.
If their website is correct, they’re gluten-free, peanut-free, and GMO-free. The prices are reasonable: one appetizer, three entrees, a bottle of tea, and we stayed under $40. I’ll let my wife sum it up:
“Weird but good. WOULD eat again.”