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Part Burrito, Part Sushi, All Delicious

Sushi burritos are waiting for you, and they’re like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.

The fast food fusion cuisine offered at Burrito San is anything but ordinary. Essentially, what you order is an enormous sushi roll filled with rice and a variety of eclectic ingredients like braised pork, roasted portobello mushroom, crunchy eggplant, scrambled egg, and pickled onion, all wrapped up in nori (seaweed). The result looks something like a burrito, but with a taste that’s entirely unique.

Johnson Teh and Kazu Abe, the masterminds behind Burrito San, come from a long lineage of bringing new tastes to new places. Abe’s parents, Chef Chika Abe and his wife Yasuko, founded Sushin in 1979. Specializing in traditional Japanese fair, it was the very first restaurant to serve sushi in Miami. She learned the ins and outs of a running a successful restaurant directly from her trailblazing parents. Right after college, Kazu joined Chicago-based food and entertainment company Lettuce Entertain You, where she met Johnson Teh, who would become her husband and business partner.

Having also grown up in the restaurant biz, Johnson has always preferred the kitchen side of things. He grew up in the Phillipines, where his family owns a string of restaurants and bakeries. He apprenticed in South East Asia before moving to California, where he became the Sous Chef of the Mandarin in Beverly Hills. In 1996, Johnson was recruited to craft the menu of Ben Pao, Chicago’s first modern Chinese restaurant.

It wasn’t long after Johnson and Kazu met that they realized their skills complemented each other. Abe’s business savvy and Teh’s culinary skills inspired them to launch a restaurant of their own.

Kazu brought Johnson back to Miami to add a new chapter to her parents’ legacy. Together with Chika and Yasuko, the family created Lan Panasian, which opened in South Miami’s bustling Dadeland in 1999. Lan succeeded by bringing chefs Johnson and Chika’s refined cuisine to regular families at affordable prices. The menu at Lan reflected Johnson’s worldly exposure, pairing flavors from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

In 2007, the team managed to duplicate the success of Lan by opening Yuga in Coral Gables. Yuga (“elegant” in Japanese) features more adventurous options. And elegant is exactly the right word, as Yuga achieves a more upscale atmosphere through sheer simplicity in the menu.

But Johnson and Kazu had something even more adventurous in mind.

They wanted to develop a casual restaurant that was not as chef driven, something that would allow them to share their pan-Asian tastes with an even bigger audience. The result was a shorter menu of novel tastes that could be served up to folks looking to grab a bite on-the-go, with fusion fare such as Filipino breakfast burritos and Asian nachos made with wonton crisps. Burrito San was born, serving a delectable assortment of burrito-sized sushi rolls filled with fresh ingredients in ingenious combinations to Downtown Miami. Stop by Burrito San at  119 SE 1st Ave. and experience it for yourself.

Burrito San exterior

By Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez is the founder of South Florida Bloggers — a local community of bloggers that meets once a month to support each other with the struggles of keeping a blog running. She also runs Coral Gables Love where she covers all the best things to do in and around Coral Gables.