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Maki - Sushi rolls/wraps in Arbor Walk (Mopac & 360)

n
nw_austin_gourmand Nov 24, 2008 11:35 AM

There's a new sushi roll/wrap restaurant in the Arbor Walk shopping center. This the same center as Home Depot and Mighty Fine Burgers.

Name: Maki
Review: This place is a little hard to describe. It's certainly not fancy, you order at the counter and they walk you thru the options as you "build your own roll". There's about 10 different meat selections and the same number of veggie options. My first time thru the line, I didn't completely understand the pricing - now that I've been thru the line twice, I'm still not sure I understand the pricing.....

The starter price is $3.95 for the wrap (that's the seaweed wrap and rice), they offer a "modern" wrap at $4.95 with soy instead of seaweed. Once you have a wrap, then you add meats at about $1.95 each - you can have as many as you like. Then you add veggies, you get 3 for free. There are additional toppings offered....

I thought the rolls were really good. I like sushi, but I don't eat a ton of it. The tuna, salmon, yellowtail all seemed fresh and flavorful - the quality was at least as good as Osaka and Sushi Sake. I believe "real" sushi rice is supposed to be one of the short grain varieties and that's what they serve here - nice fragrance, too. They had a machine to efficiently layer the rice onto the seaweed and then the server places the meats/veggies on top of the rice and rolls it up. The roll is placed into a hand cranked machine that cleanly slices the roll into 10 evenly sized pieces. A basic roll with 1 meat and 3 veggies will cost about $6 - $7. I guess that's a good deal when you're talking fresh fish/sushi.
I liked the Miso soup - good flavor, not overpoweringly salty with a smattering of small tofu pieces and green onion slices.

Ambiance - this place reminds me of the food court at the mall, which is to say, there's not much ambiance. There are very high ceilings and it's noisy although there were only about 8 people in the restaurant when I was there. I guess the combination of high corrugated metal ceilings and a stained concrete floor will do that....

If you are looking for a quick lunch, this place is great, but it's too noisy to be a relaxing hang out.

Suggestion - they should create some funky roll recommendations. I like those interesting roll combinations offered at most sushi places - there are so many confusing options/prices at Maki that I think it would be good to have your basic "meal deal" - spicy tuna roll and a drink at $7 for the rookies.

  1. l
    leighchoate Nov 25, 2008 01:12 PM

    I have been there and I think the best way to describe it is a Chipotle for sushi.

    I don't like sushi so - and I know this makes me a heretic - I got a (cooked) chicken roll. It was really yummy and satisfying, but it did take a lot of add-ons to make it interesting.

    All my coworkers (we work within a mile of this place) love this place and we're glad to have a new option, especially since Camille's (which wasn't really that great, but it was an option) is gone.

    1. r
      ridgeback Dec 9, 2008 06:07 PM

      I was skeptical of this place but stopped in over the weekend for lunch and enjoyed it. This place is ideal for a quick healthy meal and for avoiding the formality of a sushi bar. The fish and vegetables were fresh, the restaurant was very clean and the staff attentive. The owner was working on-site on a Sunday afternoon.

      Standard pricing gives the opportunity to pick one fish and up to 3 veggies, as well as choosing between the traditional nori or a soy paper wrap. The choice of a soy wrap is great for someone like my wife who doesn't like the sometimes strong taste of nori. Most restaurants only have a few standard sushi rolls with much added spice so the option of adding fresh jalapeno as one of the 3 veggies is perfect for me.

      1. o
        orb Jan 6, 2009 06:46 PM

        I never met a fast food sushi I thought was decent until now. While it's not first class sushi, I thought it was really good for a quick light meal. I was not impressed by their side options. I had high hopes for the seaweed salad, but the serving was tiny for the price and it was not that great.

        As for the ambiance, I think it's exactly right for this kind of place. It's a great place to sit and read for a while or chat. I don't know how it was too noisy, but maybe it could be like that during the lunch rush. I've been in the early afternoon and evening and it was very pleasant.

        1. BTAustin Jan 7, 2009 05:19 PM

          We went there today and loved it. Definitely Chipotle for sushi the similarity is uncanny. And uncannily smart. Got one of the two blackboard specials so I didn't have to think about ordering. Not really that complicated though they will walk you through it. A nice ebi (shrimp tempura) roll with a little carrot and cucumber and one other veggie I can't remember with tempura crumbs and spicy mayo for 7.95. Nice little miso for 99 cents. All the meats looked good. Manager said they were hoping to open a south location soon.

          1 Reply
          1. re: BTAustin
            l
            larbittier Mar 25, 2009 08:07 PM

            I'm a fan of this place because I like traditional sushi, some of my girlfriends are into more "whitebread" stuff, and best of all, I can pull together a chicken, strawberry and avocado roll that my toddler will eat! It's fast, reasonably priced, and surprisingly fresh ingredients. I wouldn't be surprised if this place becomes a chain at some point -- it's better than the "fast sushi" options in Austin, by far.

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