MakiMaki - Central Park South

MakiMaki – Central Park South

MakiMaki - Central Park SouthNothing says “premium” like a tiny, not-so-clean-looking storefront on Sixth Ave. There is probably more urine per square inch on this block than the porta-potty corral at Coachella. Not quite what you’re looking for when seeking out an awesome raw fish experience.

The thing is, MakiMaki does its best to overcome its less-than-prime situation and provide those “premium Japanese rolls” in a very Japanese joint. A take-out-only, sparse space of blonde wood, black and white octopus images on a white wall and a stark, glass case with some neatly laid out salmon and tuna sushi bricks.

But, honestly, you’re going to spend a grand total of 90 seconds in this space, so it could, in theory, be a dark cave piled high with bat guano and you’d still eat their rolls if they were good enough. In order to make the experience as grab-n-go as possible, MakiMaki keeps the menu simple. There are sixteen rolls that you can order as either hand rolls, or the traditional cut up roll. I would typically go for cut up rolls, but went with the hand roll because I was feeling frisky and hand rollish.

So I went with an eel avocado roll. And a salmon avocado roll. Typically those rolls are $6.00 each. To make you feel better about paying $12 for two rolls, MakiMaki has this proprietary plastic packaging for each roll that somehow incorporates the wrapping in the roll itself in order to keep it shaped and crisp. You have to actually read instructions on how to unfurl the wrapping and disentangle it from your roll. It’s honestly pretty cool. And works great, as my seaweed was still super-crisp and the roll itself looked like an Instagram dream.

What was good? Well, that funky packaging. And the chunks of sushi fish were fresh, the rice cooked well and the overall experience a cornucopia of saltiness and great textures. But it is not a lot of food. To get enough to be a real “meal,” you’d probably need at least three of those hand rolls. That’s $18 before tax. Which isn’t really great for lunch. Granted, two doesn’t make you feel like a total pig and the approach is very clean and what one could theoretically call “healthy.” But not really. But you can fool yourself into thinking so. It’s West Elm sushi for the masses, but sometimes that’s just fine.

1369 Avenue of the Americas (bet. 55th & 56th St)