New Yorkers are on-the-go unlike any other so we need a delicious and easy lunch to grab in an instant. Sushi has always been a fickle lunch option until Kevin Takarada came along with the concept of MakiMaki. Takarada saw an un-tapped opportunity for a revolutionary fast-casual restaurant concept that combines quality sushi, great prices and quick service. "Right now, sushi only comes in two ways- slow and expensive or refrigerated where you're eating cold rice and old, aged fish." Takarada exclaimed to us. What they are doing is re-engineering the art of how the sushi roll is being made from the ground-up. "Instead of having a skilled sushi chef make one single roll for you at a time, we have a team of able young people making that single roll for you with four to five people on the assembly line."
The great thing about that is with simply one task to do, it efficiently speeds up the process, increasing productivity exponentially. Since the sushi is going out very quickly, the fish always stays fresh and the consumer is paying the same price for a fresh hand-roll as opposed to those sad refrigerated versions. Something that is important to Takarada was a work/life balance as his father worked long hours growing up, so both locations are open from 11:00am to 8:00pm (with a 10am prep work opening ) and the restaurants closing "at 8pm sharp" in order tto enjoy that "work-life balance".
Talking to Takarada, you could feel his zeal for the industry and the quality food that himself and his staff are putting out every single day. When we tasted the Blue Crab hand roll, it tasted just as good- if not better than a fine-dining roll. Fresh luscious crab, soft rice, and a crispy seaweed exterior, it was the perfect bite. It turns out that the crispiness of a the seaweed is another trick that Takarada has up his sleeve. "The seaweed usually tends to be soggy because as soon as the seaweed and rice touch each other, the moisture makes it soggy." "We have a patented product in which we are the only one carry it in NYC to prevent this." To say that it made a difference is an understatement. We also loved the eel avocado cut roll as the freshness was second to none. Sipping on Saporro and sake while exclaiming how amazing the sushi tasted, guests were mixing and mingling amongst each other, enjoying a wonderful evening!
Visit or order from MakiMaki's new location at 360 Lexington Avenue.
By Nisim Frank
Pictures courtesy of Seventh House PR.