What exactly is a premium hand roll bar? Well, at Mara it’s a casual restaurant that serves good quality fish wrapped up in a nori. You might think of temaki, the cone shaped hand roll. But it’s not a cone. You may think it’s an uncut futomaki, made with several ingredients. But that’s not it either. The hand rolls here are made to emphasize the crispness of the nori while giving you the same sushi quality of fish and rice. All while being tucked inside The Market within the Twitter building. I guess this place must get lots of business during lunch. And I have to say, they are optimally set up for the lunch crowd.
When I got there it was easy to find a seat. The place was only open for six weeks and it was Friday after five, most people were on the way home or to a bar. I happened to need a bite to eat before starting my weekend. I ordered the five hand roll set for $21.95 (a reasonable price in my opinion) and my first round came out quick. The chef kept an eye on me and made sure once I finished a roll, I had another ready. This was perfect for my situation. An eat and go establishment similar to their sister and neighboring place, Poke Bar. All in all I spent about fifteen minutes there and ordered some food to go.
Once I was done, I paid at the register and was on my way. I won’t compare it with a similar venue down in Los Angeles, but I’m sure glad this concept is here in San Francisco. Though it’s kinda in a tough location, an area you don’t find yourself in or seek out. But if you’re around, you may want to stop by.
1355 Market Street Ste 100
San Francisco, CA 94103
+1 (415) 767-5130
Verdict: A great place to grab a quick bite to eat without sacrificing quality. Can this please be the bar for fast casual?
The restaurant is an open space within the market. Plenty of stools for you eat and go types. And for larger parties, though not that large, there's tables within the establishment.
Can't say too much about the miso soup except that it was the perfect companion to the hand rolls. In between each roll I found myself taking a few sips. Easily helps you get ready for that next taste.
They apparently started with the best roll, the toro roll. The minced fatty tuna was perfectly done, where nothing took away from that buttery sweet goodness.
Next up was the salmon roll. Fresh cuts of salmon with a sprinkle of sesame seed tucked in with that warm rice. Mmmm mmm good.
Tucked inside this hand roll was a creamy scallop mixture. Not to be confused with the spicy scallop mixture you'd find at other places. This one tries to keep the balance, but overall, I wish I could taste more of the scallops. Not bad though.
The crab roll doesn't look like much but it's filled with a decent amount of crab meat. I'm not sure what kind it was but it was light. Maybe dungeness?
Last but not least was the lobster roll. A kind of a lobster salad mix that's not too heavy on the binding agent. Overall, it was just okay. Nothing really to complain about, but not a winner like that toro. Oh I had to order one for my friend.
Getting anything to go means you'll have to forgo the hand roll form. They will be cut up into your familiar maki pieces allowing you to eat them comfortably later. I think that's because the nori softens up and you'll find yourself making a mess out of a chewy hand roll.
One thing to note is the minimum for take out is three rolls. Not sure why, but I had to add another roll to my initial order. My friends owe me one.