Aaron Rodriguez was selling sushi out of his house while he was still in high school. He was building a clientele before most kids even entertain the thought of culinary school. Rodriguez, 20, says it was the support of his clients that encouraged him to pursue being a chef.
“I made rolls and people would make orders,” says Rodriguez. “They would let me know what they’d want and I would tell them that their order would be ready at this time. They would tell me ‘Oh, you’re really good at what you do.’”
Mexican sushi may seem like an unusual culinary choice, but it’s a fusion cuisine that has been creeping up the west coast of North America.
Originally from Mazatlan in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, sushi in the Sinaloense style combines the traditional components of a Japanese sushi roll, like rice and nori with cream cheese and freshly grilled meats and seafood—shrimp especially—known to the Sinaloa coast. The rolls are then breaded and deep-fried.
“There are not too many places around here with this type of food,” says bar manager Alex Bailon.
In the last few years this style has been taking off all over LA and now Gilroy boasts its own Mexican sushi hangout—Vix Seafood & Sushi at 7588 Monterey Street.
The five page menu—written in Spanglish—offers a tasty treat for every appetite. From traditional sushi rolls and camarones (shrimp) prepared no fewer than 10 ways to its Sinaloense-style breaded rolls and grilled meats, Vix is a fiesta waiting to happen.
Bailon, 36, says among their top drinks is michelada, with traditional Mexican beers including Pacifico and Negra Modelo.
With a huge bar and 3,000 feet at the front of the house, Vix is built for parties. They have a DJ on Fridays and on Saturday, they do banda music, a traditional Mexican brass-based band.
At both the chef and the bar manager Alex Bailon’s recommendation, we began with the El Guamuchilito ($14.95)—a large breaded roll with shrimp, crab, avocado and cream cheese inside, topped with avocado and eel sauce.
The flavors were good, but I would work your way up to hotter dishes and begin with this one—on second taste the cream cheese leaves you wanting the additional heat.
The next roll we tasted was El Bandido ($16.95), which includes a tempura shrimp, cucumber and crab inside. Topped with tuna, tempura crunchies, spicy mayo, eel sauce and chili oil, El Bandido packs a crunchy punch.
The chili oil, made in-house by Rodriguez, has a bold, smoky heat that spreads throughout your mouth. But as chili peppers go, it’s still mild on the Scoville heat index.
Unlike traditional sushi bars, the sushi is prepared in back, but Rodriguez says they plan on making modifications to their existing bar area to create a traditional sushi bar experience.
The rolls may seem pricey for this South Valley town, but a single roll is enough for one, so if two people share—you’re not spending a lot on one meal.
“There are people that drive from the Bay Area to LA just to get the sushi and now it’s closer,” says Rodriguez.
“We have a big menu, with a lot of variety,” he adds. “If you come with a friend that doesn’t like sushi, then we have our fresh grill. There is something for everyone.”
Visit Vix Seafood & Sushi at 7588 Monterey St, Gilroy or on Facebook