No. 96: Samurai Burrito at Wafu of Japan

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. . . .

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

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