By Katherine Shilcutt | HoustonPress.com
Admit that you were just waiting for the day when someone stuffed macaroni and cheese into an egg roll and shoved it at you through the window of a food truck. That day has come, my friends, and that egg roll can be found (and shoved into your mouth) at new food truck Muiishi Makirritos.
Head chef Matt Mui is a sous chef at Soma Sushi, which accounts for much of Muiishi Makirritos’ clever menu. Mui is already well-accustomed to working with fish at the Washington Avenue restaurant (which, by the way, recently acquired the talented Mark Gabriel Medina from sister restaurant Kata Robata as its new executive chef), and you’ll find much of Soma’s cheeky attitude in his dishes, too.
That said, the food is all Mui’s, from those cheesy egg rolls to the karaage chicken topped with tempura-battered sweet corn and a spicy aioli to a bowl of shrimp and grits featuring not just tempura shrimp but also a sous vide pork belly. You get the sense that Mui is throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. But so far, it’s all sticking.
Although the truck only opened on Friday, my first visit yesterday afternoon found a team that already knows its way around the tiny kitchen quite well. Our orders came out swiftly and not a single one of the four didn’t excel.
In addition to hoping (however remotely) that a food truck would one day serve mac ‘n’ cheese-stuffed egg rolls, I actually have wished quite often for a Japanese food truck that would serve sushi. Hell, no, I am not afraid to eat raw fish off a truck. I’ve eaten raw fish handed over from a grizzled sea captain’s dirty fingers. Muiishi Makirritos is the closest we’ve gotten to a sushi truck, thanks to Mui’s hand rolls, and although they’re not stuffed with raw tuna (YET), they’re full of excellent ingredients like more of that tempura shrimp and soft pork belly.
My favorite of the afternoon was the “Swaggy Dog,” not to be confused with the more common Shaggy Dog roll often seen in Americanized sushi joints. Mui’s version has all the Shaggy Dog components — crunchy fried shrimp, crab meat and spicy mayo — but this one is tucked neatly inside nori paper for easier snacking, with the mayo served on the side. Nearly as good was the Kakuni roll, with that pork belly rolled up inside more nori paper and surrounded by grilled oyster mushrooms, daikon radish sprouts, crunchy strips of pickled ginger and more avocado.
The karaage — Japanese fried chicken — takes real, thick chunks of dark meat chicken and fries it up, before topping it with some more of Muiishi Makirritos’ spicy mayo and green onions, and although the dish as a whole was great, I was more charmed by the flash-fried spinach leaves on top than anything else. And those egg rolls…Stuffed with Redneck Cheddar from the Houston Dairymaids along with smoked Gouda, ground beef and applewood-smoked bacon, well, they were as delicious as you’re hopefully imagining.
I was just as impressed with the portions at Muiishi Makirritos, which don’t skimp. The hand rolls are $7 and come w
ith two very large pieces to an order. Those tasty egg rolls are only $4 for two and the karaage $7 for a huge paper boat-full. Most importantly for me, those hand rolls make a fun, refreshing change from the big, beefy burgers and heavy, fried items (all of which I love, naturally) at most food trucks in town.
Welcome to the streets, Muiishi Makirritos. We’re glad to have you.