The first time I visited Cameron Village I stood on the porch of Cafe Carolina, observing the shops and restaurants that make up the shopping center and thought, "man this is a strange place." High-end jewelry stores like Bailey's share parking space with goofy and eccentric places like Accipiter Gallery. Wine snobs rub elbows with college inebriates, and somehow there still survives an independent video store. So it isn't surprising that Cameron Village is host to the sushi and burger restaurant, Sushi Gami.
And it's not the only sushi and burger restaurant planning to inhabit the shopping center. The initial rumor was that Charlotte-based Cowfish would bring their Ric Flair inspired cuisine to the space formerly known as Foster's. But instead Sushi Gami took claim of the space that we used to know as Uncle Fatty's.
Asian fusion is nothing new. Every time I munch on General Tso's Chicken it reminds me of the greatness that happens when east meets west. However, a concept that combines burgers and sushi falls into gimmick territory. And when the gimmick involves two drastically different dishes, the odds are that both dishes are going to suck. I immediately put Sushi Gami to the litmus test for a sushi place: the freshness of their fish. The sushi appetizer featured five nicely sliced pieces. Everything tasted fresh until I got to the tuna, which had a slight metallic taste.
Spicy Tuna Burger
Most of Sushi Gami's burgers are typical gourmet burger joint items. Some sriracha here, and a couple of avocados there. But the truly daring menu items are the few burgers that feature fish on the burger. After browsing my menu choices and being awkwardly hit on by my waitress, I decided to try out the spicy tuna burger.
There are a couple of issues that automatically hurt the quality of the burgers at Sushi Gami. First is the mandatory cooking of all their burgers to the unforgivable state of well done. Secondly, the burger came with some assembly required. For me, separating toppings for the customer to stack shows a lack of trust in the toppings. Yet despite those two miscues, spicy tuna on a burger actually worked. The spicy and cold tuna play well with the sweet mango slices, which combined with the savory burger made for an interesting meal. Looking for more heat, I smeared Sushi Gami's wasabi sauce over the bun. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a little bit overpowering. The sweet potato waffle fries were a pleasant surprise, capturing the crispiness that always seems to allude the sweet potato.
In the end, is Sushi Gami the best sushi in town? No. Is Sushi Gami the best burger in town? No. But it sure is the best damn sushi burger restaurant in town... at least for now.