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Latino Sushi in Corpus Christi

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Danyela’s Sushi in the Executive Surf Club

You probably don’t think of sushi in the same breath as Mexican food. In fact,  a lot of people probably develop a craving for the light, direct and clean taste of sushi when they decide they’ve been eating too much “heavy, spicy” Mexican food.

At the Water Street Oyster Bar in Corpus Christi, however, not only is there sushi for you to eat to your heart’s content. There’s also Danyela Hinojosa from down near the border – by way of special training by a Japanese chef at the California Sushi Academy. With a bold assist from things like cilantro, lime, poblano, Serrano and jalapeno, she may have created the best of both worlds.

Recognizing her talent and work ethic as she spun through different stations at Water Street, which began in a former transmission shop 27 years ago, owner Brad Lomax decided two things. 1. That Danyela was worth whatever he could invest in her. And 2. That she might have the right combination of skill and Texas taste buds to come up with a new spin on the very old sushi tradition from Japan. The result: a series of selections with far more flavor than the norm, not to mention a lot more color.

Several of Danyela’s most popular creations involve tuna – in particular a roll made with blackened tuna (barely seared, a little spiced) wrapped in rice and nori then served atop creamy light-green poblano sauce. It is an amazing dish, though only slightly better than another one that’s even simpler – tiny squares of tuna topped with slivers of jalapeno and fresh cilantro.

According to Lomax, some customers don’t understand what a Gulf Coast seafood house with excellent deep-frying is doing with sushi in the first place. But the new items are catching on, thanks in part to Danyela’s enthusiasm for them. And while they might seem strange, so do several other aspects of the restaurant-live music-retail complex Lomax has created over the years. We even asked that the tuna roll be delivered to us in the Executive Surf Club, which has more than enough great casual food already, before Lomax took us on a tour of his Texas Surf Museum.

Seems that Corpus Christi and nearby Port Aransas have been the heart of the Lone Star State’s surfing scene since the early 1960s. As with this and so many other things about the Water Street development, the only logical response to Danyela Hinojosa’s light, exquisite Tex-Mex sushi has to be: Who knew?

About John DeMers

I've been a journalist and author forever. My favorite single word in the English language is "foodandwine." This spirit drives my 45 published books and my weekly radio show heard in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

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