Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hai Street Kitchen

32 South 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 964.9465

After many recommendations from a handful of my Center City cube-monkey friends, it was about time I gave this place a try. Known for their enormous sushi-style burritos, it was the perfect healthy meal to grab before getting on a flight to Chicago where I saw far too many hot dogs in my near future.

Simple fresh flavors: items definitely not available in terminal C at PHL.

Everything is prepared to order and there's a selection of house recommendations, but you can also build your own from the expansive selection of Japanese-inspired burrito fillings. I felt like I was at a fancier Chipotle fusion eatery.

The oversize rolls carried pretty well, considering they went from 18th & Market via Septa to the airport, through security, etc. Let's say it was just shy of an hour in transit before the unveiling...

I was short on time and full of hunger, so I couldn't waste any time selecting my own combination of ingredients, so I went with two of the house specialties. First up was the Hai Satay with grilled chicken, spicy peanut sauce, romaine, cucumber, carrot and pickled jicama. It was supposed to come with grilled zucchini, but I totally squashed that. Get it?

AND asked for extra peanut sauce. It was exceedingly fresh, full of flavor and easy to eat without making a mess, which is a recurring problem for me. Especially when I request extra sauce for nearly everything on the planet.

Second up was the Chili Citrus Pork with salsa verde, romaine, carrot, red cabbage and pickled red onion. I was thrown by the salsa verde, so I asked them to skip it and add the gochujang and spicy mayo instead. They were much obliged and catered to my every substitution. They even threw in the extra sides of ginger miso dressing and the spicy mayo at no extra cost. I'm pretty sure the salsa verde would be unwelcome in this combo, so if you do try it that way, let me know how it goes.

The pork was perfectly tender with not one chewy bit. The ingredients melded together so well and maybe it was the time they had to set, but no matter, when I'm craving a big fat burrito I won't mind subbing in the healthier version of a mega seaweed roll every once in a while. Maybe every 4th.

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