Asian Fusion Street Food and Sushi
753 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale
What is it about sushi and South Florida? It seems as if every place serves sushi in addition to its main focus. There are places that brag “Thai & Sushi”, or “Asian Buffet & Sushi” I wouldn’t be surprised if Flanigan’s or Primanti Bros. started hawking sushi too.
Therefore it comes as a pleasant surprise to discover someplace that really does do sushi well, in addition to other dishes.
We recently had dinner with some friends and in trying to choose a place to dine, the suggestion of “Asian street food” was floated about. My husband asked, “Street food, is that asphalt and concrete?”
My husband’s wisecrack aside, street food is that which is served as a quick bite, usually from carts or food trucks. In Asia these carts are the equivalent to fast food restaurants. Instead of heading to McDonald’s, someone running errands in Japan is likely to stop by a ramen cart for a hearty bowl of noodles.
After doing some research into the best fusion street food, one name kept coming up in every listing; Kubo’s. A quick check on Yelp made me even more excited. The place had more than 60 reviews, almost all of them five-star ratings. With that many positive ratings, there had to be some real substance to this place. Kubo’s menu is exactly what it advertises, a fusion of Asian street food (with an emphasis on Filipino fare) and, in keeping with Florida’s tradition, sushi. In this case excellently prepared, exceedingly fresh, sushi.
Start of your meal with one of a trio of bao “tacos” featuring pork belly with traditional Filipino abodo sauce, beef bulgogi or shrimp, sweet corn and yum yum sauce. If you prefer a crispy shell to your “taco” try the wonton stuffed with spicy salmon and topped with scallion mayo and mango avocado salsa. For something truly unusual, check out the delicious “Fire Ball”; an avocado, quartered and deep-fried, then stuffed with spicy tuna and topped with lump crab meat, tobiko and micro greens. It may not be authentic to any cuisine, but with something so delicious, who the hell cares? Those looking for a lighter meal can opt for one of the gorgeous salads. Deep Ocean combines tuna, salmon, white fish, octopus, conch, avocado, orange, cucumber, tobiko, scallion, and sesame seeds, with the chef’s special salad dressing. Yellowtail salad combines the titular fish Hamachi style with jalapeños, seaweed salad, daikon and tobiko in ponzu sauce.
In addition to traditional sushi, sashimi and maki rolls (the $7 bargain-priced
crispy salmon skin and cucumber is divine), there are specialty rolls, both the usual (New York, Dragon, Rainbow) as well as more unusual combinations, such as; Japanese Lover (hamachi, avocado, masago and scallion topped with seared Hamachi), Angry Bird (shrimp tempura, cucumber, kani aioli, and jalapeño topped with spicy tuna tempura flakes), and the signature Kubo Lobster Roll (lobster tempura, avocado, asparagus, and scallions with masago and sesame seeds).
Sushi and sashimi combination dinners include a choice of miso soup or salad. The Single Ride delivers a rainbow roll with six pieces of sushi and nine pieces of sashimi for $29. A sushi-sashimi boat for two runs $51. For those who prefer an entrée, traditional and unusual versions of Japanese noodle dishes such as teriyaki, ramen and udon abound. More unusual fusion offerings range from curries to such Filipino favorites as pancit (clear noodle stir fry), adobo (spicy bbq) and sisig, (fried rice with crispy pork, pig ears, onions and garlic mayo serve on a sizzling plate).
Phat Boy Sushi & Kitchen
4391 N. Federal, Oakland Park
Phat Boy Downtown
701 S. Federal, Fort Lauderdale
Kubo isn’t the only place serving up fusion street food. The popular Phat Boy on North Federal is a long-time favorite renowned for its street food fare and they’ve recently opened an outpost on South Federal, as well.
Check out the some of the more unusual specialty rolls, aka Phat Boy rolls. The Red Monkey Roll combines shrimp tempura, daikon, cilantro and jalapeno with seared tuna and house sauce, while the Pump Fit Roll serves up tuna, salmon, white fish, and asparagus topped with avocado. For a treat try the Bling Bling Roll which features a
whole lobster tail tempura, asparagus, and avocado with red tobiko, topped with spicy mayo and eel sauce or the Surf & Turf Roll; tempura lobster, cucumber, cilantro topped with seared ribeye and house sauce.
Grilled options include yakiniku (strips of ribeye served over stir-fried bean sprouts and onion), Chilean seabass marinated in miso, eggplant topped with bonito flakes, grilled salmon over asparagus and galbee (short rib).