Fusion is where it’s at. You take one style, mix it with another and .. bam! something fresh. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
My kids like burgers, I like sushi, so for a while I’ve been wanting to try Nu Burger Sushi Bar in Calgary. On a rainy summer day while we were out for adventures, we were debating in the back seat what to have for lunch. Charlie wanted burgers, Zacharie and I wanted sushi, when we pulled up alongside the burger sushi bar.
Sold.Now, it wasn’t quite what I had expected. While there were a few menu items that were straight burgers and straight sushi, most of it it was fusion. There were items on the menu called burgushi – sushi burgers. While there was a list of regular maki, sashimi, and sushi, there was also a creative section of sushi rolls with typical burger ingredients.
The small 12 table restaurant was hopping as we pulled up towards the end of a typical lunch hour. There were business colleagues, university students, and a man at the sushi bar talking to a lover via FaceTime while he pecked at a roll and slider.
The crowd was young, and hip, as was the staff. It’s not really “family friendly,” but we certainly didn’t feel uncomfortable either. It’s the fusion aspect of the menu that doesn’t really make it a ‘kid place.’ Unless you have a brood that loves exotic flavours, spices, and experiences, there’s little to get them here.
Zacharie was craving a kappa maki, a simple cucumber roll. There were none to be found. Charlie was wanting a plain McDonald’s cheeseburger with ketchup. He got a little more than that. In my mind’s eye a “burger sushi bar!” was absolutely perfect. In reality, it was a little more than I needed to keep my kids happy at lunch.
So I ad libbed and ordered them local grass-fed beef, pork belly, sharp cheddar sliders , and dialed it back to “plain.” The sliders are small, and at $4.5 each, probably worth it with all the extra fusion goodness, but not worth it when you order them “plain.” Surprisingly the boys didn’t balk at the farm fries which came dusted with parmesan and truffle oil – they pounded them back.
I ordered a Cali Beach that came with snow crab, ahi tuna, ocean wise salmon, avocado, pickled beets, pea shoots, wasabi tobiko, and crisp ginger. It was okay, I guess, but just a little too much for me. It really didn’t need to have crab, tuna, and salmon all in the same roll.
The burgushi I ordered was also a little too ambitious in the fusion department for my liking. The Shabang (photo at top) is thinly sliced ocean wise smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers, red onion, english cucumber, and watercress in a crisp sushi rice bun, served with a side of buttermilk zucchini fries and smoked paprika and baked lime aioli. The “crisp sushi rice bun” is a neatly folded and toasted soy paper with rice inside. The rest of it was like having lox without the bagel. Again, not really what I needed, and a little too adventurous for its own good.
The service was excellent, the room was bright and friendly, but perhaps I went a little too deep into the pool on my first visit to Nû Burger Sushi Bar. Going for a straight burger or sliders should have been my starting point while pairing it with some simple maki or sushi to start.
Nu didn’t win my heart the first time out, but I’m willing to give it a second date – without the kids.