Review: Sushi meets Minnesota charm at SotaRol

SotaRol markets itself as an Asian restaurant with “up north appeal.”

Tater tots and a Spicy Tuna SotaRito from SotaRol in Stadium Village on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Meagan Lynch

Tater tots and a Spicy Tuna SotaRito from SotaRol in Stadium Village on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Maddy Folstein

Like so many other cuisines served at off-campus fast food spots, sushi has now been Chipotle-fied — courtesy of SotaRol.

The chain’s second location (the first is in Edina) serves sushi rolls, poke bowls and ramen. Their most famous menu item is the Sotarito, a comfortably named twist on the sushi burrito trend that just recently hit the Twin Cities.

SotaRol markets itself as an Asian restaurant with “up north appeal.” This means you can get classic sushi rolls, but they might arrive with a side of tater tots.

I ordered a spicy tuna Sotarito ($10.75) with a side of tater tots ($5.35). Non-fish Sotarito options included five-spice pork and Korean ribeye, both of which looked appetizing.

When compared to a Chipotle or Qdoba burrito, a Sotarito seems tiny. Especially given the much steeper price tag.

However, the ingredients inside the Sotarito warrant the more expensive price. As it goes, I don’t want my raw fish to taste strongly fish-y. The tuna inside the Sotarito was fresh and bright, something I’m willing to pay a premium for.

A common complaint about fast food sushi is the use of large amounts of rice as a way to lower costs. However, the ingredient ratio in my Sotarito was well-balanced. The rice was slightly sweet and held together with the outer soy paper wrapper surprisingly well.

My biggest issue with the Sotarito was that it was constructed in a way that didn’t allow the ingredients to mix properly. Because I had to take bites across the sushi burrito I only ever tasted the spicier mix of the tuna and mayo or the cooler crunch of the cucumber and tempura.

Still, the flavors were strong. I was full after only half of the Sotarito, and the promise of leftovers curbed sticker shock.

The tater tots were just fine — crispy and complemented by the spicy mayo served on the side — but nothing unique. Any bar in the area probably serves similar tots for much cheaper prices.

I also got a melon-flavored Ramune ($3), a Japanese soda that comes in a bottle with a marble in the lid that has to be pushed down for the drink to open. It’s a novelty item and yes, it’s fun. The soda complemented the spicier bites of Sotarito well.

In the end my order total was around $20. I’m not entirely sure the meal was worth that.

I would skip the tater tots next time and opt for a Sotarito and Ramune. Much like the soda, the meal itself will feel like a bit of a novelty.