Welcome to the Weekly's list of our 100 Favorite Dishes for 2011! Tune in every day until we get to número uno! Now, on to the latest entry. . . .
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It looks like mess, a disaster, but if the Mexicans can take the humble teriyaki bowl and give it a wonderful mestizo treatment, then why can't the Japanese Nippon-ize the burrito? But what Wafu of Japan offers isn't what you might expect--it's better.
There is nothing Mexican about the dish other than the name--okay, if you REALLY want to stretch it, Wafu's delicious sauce, peanut-heavy and thick, owes more to a mole than anything from Japan. But the soy paper that wraps around shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and crab is crispy, almost ethereal like a great buñuelo sans the sweetness. Wafu's seafood quality is always stellar, of course, and the tempura crumbs on top add sweet, fried crunch. Again: not Mexican at all, but Wafu's Samurai Burrito is nevertheless a better "burrito" than 75 percent of the dreck that masquerades as such in this beautiful, God-forsaken naranja of ours...
Wafu of Japan, 320 Bristol St., Ste G, Costa Mesa, (714) 641-7321
The list so far:
No. 97: Carnitas Gordita at Bodega R Ranch Market
No. 98: Spam Musubi at k'ya Street Fare
No. 99: Tortilla Andorra at Anepalco's
No. 100: Lemongrass Chicken, Extra Spicy at Vietnam's Pearl