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The Early Early Word on Chris Jaeckle's Fast Casual Sushi Spot, Uma Temakeria

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Are fish 'n chips sushi hand rolls a good idea?

Can fast food sushi succeed?
Can fast food sushi succeed?

When a chef like Chris Jaeckle of All'Onda takes up a pet fast food project, one has to wonder how the food is. Jaeckle's Brazilian-Japanese sushi spot Uma Temakeria opens on Wednesday, but it's been hosting previews all week, and few Eater staffers and the Food Doc got an early taste. "Uma Temakeria is, for all intents and purposes, a fast food sushi joint; however, instead of purchasing pre-packaged rolls of sushi, the kitchen prepares the sushi rolls on demand," explains the Food Doc. There are six "chef's rolls" including the tsumi tuna with apple and wasabi ginger sauce, a norado crab with carrot, scallion and avocado lime sauce, and a fish ‘n chips option complete with potato chips in the sushi roll. Guests can also make their own.

Reactions to the rolls were mixed. While the Food Doc seems optimistic about Jaeckle's endeavor (and potential expansion if things go well), others were less enthused. "The fish quality is good — good in the sense that it is better than random cheap takeout sushi," notes one Eater staffer. And the kale with balsamic miso is "delicious," while the fish 'n chips roll is "fun" albeit very saucy. Another staffer comments: "LOTS of sauces. Which I think is to cover up the fish. Plus, not great quality seaweed. By the time I sat down to eat my seaweed was mushy, not crunchy as it should be." Worth returning? For a quick, inexpensive lunch in the neighborhood, the consensus is yes. But those looking for a place that highlights the fish should probably head elsewhere. 64 7th Avenue, Chelsea.