My takeout sushi order is usually pretty straightforward: spicy tuna roll and a salmon avocado roll. Maybe a dynamite roll or some sashimi if I’m feeling frisky.
The thing you’ll of course notice is that all of those things have seafood in them. And while I’m certainly not turning my nose up to yam tempura or cucumber rolls, I get sushi for the fish (OK, and the crab).
So I acted polite when I saw vegan sushi on the menu at a recent media tasting for be the plant-based Mila, opening this Saturday in the old Juniper location in Chinatown.
Mila is operated by the same team behind the more casual Virtuous Pie (coincidentally right around the corner). So while I knew chef Jim Vesal and his crew certainly had the veggie cred, I still didn’t think they could pull off sushi that wouldn’t be at least a mild disappointment.
But much to my absolute surprise and delight, the two rolls on offer were downright incredible—enough so that I began to evaluate some of my other unshakeable, rock-solid opinions.
Was Christian Bale really the best Batman? Were Ross and Rachel actually not on a break? Would I truly be able to tell the difference between Pepsi and Coca-Cola if blindfolded?
First up was the Mila Roll, a mix of heart of palm, avocado, cucumber, black sesame, wasabi mango mayo and some tempura crunch to finish—the restaurant’s take on the California Roll, if you will. But I’d much sooner order this than that old sushi trope. The wasabi mango mayo, in particular, brought the absolute perfect mix of sweet and savoury.
And this is from someone who doesn’t like maple syrup and bacon together—I’m particular about that flavour combo.
And then there was the Aburi Lox Oshi, composed of carrot lox (subbing for salmon), sambal mayo and a slice of serrano. Again, the flavours were combined expertly, with the spice and carrot coming together really nicely.
The restaurant has a plethora of other strong options to check out this weekend as well—the mango satay slaw was another favourite.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be leaving Mila this weekend thinking about the sushi. And really having to reckon with some long-held beliefs.