What is Sushi a la carte and is it great tasting?
Updated: Sep 7
Even though sushi is becoming increasingly popular, some may not know what to expect from a typical sushi restaurant. There are many different kinds of sushi restaurants you can find, including specialty restaurants, and neighborhood hole-in-the-walls. Depending on what the restaurants have to offer, the quality and type of sushi you get vary. What is sushi a la carte? Is it better than other what other restaurants have to offer? We'll provide insight on what to expect from different places.
Here at Under Wraps, we have a limited menu so we can focus on the quality and taste of each dish we make. We offer an a la carte sushi menu for our sashimi and handrolls. This allows you to get exactly what you want for the best price and taste.
Origins of a la carte
So exactly what is sushi a la carte? "A la carte" (pronounced "a-la-cart") is a French term that literally translates to "according to the menu". Here in the states, you'll usually see a typical "a la carte" section listing out the individual price for individual dishes that are usually a part of a larger set meal. These individual items are priced at a lower fixed cost and serve a single person. Think of it as a side menu. But an a la carte menu typically offers more filling dishes. These types of menus are extremely popular with people who do not have a big appetite but still want a savory dish that side options do not offer.
Here at Under Wraps, you'll see us use sushi a la carte as a way to provide individually made sushi dishes versus the more common mass orders regularly seen from all-you-can-eat restaurants.
A la carte vs a set menu
An a la carte menu might seem a bit similar to a set menu you see at a specialty restaurant but they actually have different purposes. While some set menus allow you to choose what options you want from a set list given to you, you usually cannot substitute any ingredients or aspects of the dish. This is because many set menus dishes are often prepared in advance. Although you can get a good amount of food for a decent price, picky eaters may not love the lack of accommodation.
So what makes sushi a la carte special from set menus? An a la carte dish, they are usually made to order because they are simple dishes to cook due to the lack of sides. If needed, these are usually easily customizable and freshly made. Our a la carte menu offers a variety of options for a wide range of foodies to enjoy. Hopefully, this sufficiently answers the question 'what is sushi a la carte?'
A la carte sushi vs. all you can eat sushi
As the years go on, all-you-can-eat (AYCE) sushi has become extremely popular. Whether it's the ability to get the most amount of food for a set price or being able to order a variety of different rolls. You're almost always able to find an AYCE sushi restaurant near you. Even though AYCE sushi might seem more appealing versus a la carte, keep the quality of the raw fish you are eating in mind.
Because of the increased popularity, many restaurants must keep up with the costs and demands of the fish they buy. This may, or may not, affect the quality of the sushi you get. The increase in customers will also affect the quality of the sushi as many chefs struggle to keep up with the large orders each customer has in an AYCE restaurant.
Here at Under Wraps, we keep a traditional a la carte sushi menu for all our handrolls and sashimi. This is to avoid changes in quality and taste. We receive only the freshest fish on a regular basis to offer the best-tasting sushi daily. Since we do not mass produce our sushi, we only keep fresh ingredients in-house and never serve old fish. Our goal is to provide an enjoyable dining experience and top-quality dishes for our customers.
Everybody knows about sushi rolls, a type of fish and vegetables rolled within a layer of rice and seaweed and topped with a tasty sauce. It typically looks like a long log that is cut into bite-sized discs that can be picked up with your fingers or chopsticks. Although this is a popular version of sushi, many forget about the just as tasty handroll. Also known as Temaki or just Maki, handrolls typically consist of the same components as rolled sushi. With the small difference of it being rolled into a cone shape that can easily be held in one hand. Think of an ice cream cone but with sushi!
Handrolls are super popular as they offer an on-the-go option that fits on one hand, leaving the other hand free for use. The learning curve for a handroll is a lot easier than using chopsticks, which makes it a preferred choice to many. This is why you'll most likely always see handrolls offered on the a la carte sushi menu and priced around $7. The increase in popularity has even made its way into many convenience stores and can be found right next to the rolled sushi in the to-go sections.
In its purest form, sashimi is thinly cut raw fish placed over a small bed of rice. There are no extras to this dish as you will never find vegetables, seaweed, or sauces incorporated into the sushi itself. Although some sauces, ginger, or wasabi can be served along with this dish, you do not need to use any of these to fully enjoy a bite of sashimi. Eating sashimi is where you'll taste the quality and freshness of the fish. Whether you order salmon, tuna, or hamachi, you should never taste any fishiness with fresh fish and only taste the full flavor of quality raw fish. With sashimi dishes, the restaurant shows where its true standards lie.
Here at Under Wraps, we pride ourselves on all of the above. While the idea of ordering from an a la carte menu may seem a bit too much, we can assure you that you will not regret the experience. All of our dishes are made to order to maximize the quality and freshness of all that comes out of our kitchen. Ready to give us a try? Stop by anytime to enjoy a new type of sushi and, to experience the answer to the question, 'what is sushi a la carte?' for yourself.