Mai Takase is no stranger to Japanese cuisine after growing up in Japan, attending culinary school in Seattle and dedicating 20 years to the food industry.
These experiences led her to bring some of the country’s most delicious foods to Dallas with the opening of Sushi de Handroll two years ago. The restaurant specializes in temaki, or sushi handrolls, and izakaya bites, which are small and shareable bites.
Sushi de Handroll’s seaweed is imported from Japan and customized just for them. This crispy seaweed is a signature item for many of the restaurant’s offerings, Takase says.
“No other restaurant can have it,” she says.
While the sushi handrolls are the restaurant’s main event, another popular dish includes the crispy rice izakaya, which comes with either spicy tuna, California or salmon avocado over deep fried sushi rice with seasoning powder.
The Mosaic Sushi is the most eye-catching menu item. It comes with a range of 16 to 48 bite-sized pressed sushis with eight different flavors and toppings. Pops of green come from cucumber and avocado, red comes from the tuna and orange from the salmon. It’s also a personal favorite of Takase’s.
“Visually, it’s pretty unique,” she says. “No one has it in the DFW area.”
Customers that are not big fans of raw offerings can still dine on fish items and cooked options like shrimp tempura or Japanese barbecue.
Sushi de Handroll came to be when Takase moved to Dallas four years ago after living in Los Angeles, where she worked at a different Japanese restaurant. Takase also gained 10 years of cooking experience by whipping up dishes in American, Japanese and Italian cuisines.
When looking at where Sushi de Handroll should go, she thought The Hill Shopping Center here was prime real estate.
“The city was expanding and growing so much,” Takase says. “And I was like, yeah, this is it. This is the place.”
New apartments being built at the time and nearby Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital made the potential for customer traffic even better, she says.
The restaurant’s customer base has slightly shifted since the pandemic started. More families would dine at Sushi de Handroll pre-COVID, and now they mostly come on the weekends, Takase says. Weekdays are mostly frequented by young professionals from nearby office buildings.
Like many restaurants, the pandemic was “very tough” on Sushi de Handroll, she says. There was a spike in takeout orders, which pushed her to pivot the restaurant’s to-go options.
Sushi de Handroll has since found success with to-go make-your-own handroll kits. The kits see high sales during the weekends and are popular with kids.
Whether it’s temaki or Japanese barbecue, Sushi de Handroll customers can get a realistic taste of Japan without breaking the bank, Takase says.
“We’re really authentic, providing Japanese food to people, but with a little bit more reasonable price,” she says.