Pop-Up Pick

Vegan Sushi Pop-Up Mitate Goes Beyond Cucumber Rolls

There's nothing fishy about these rolls.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton March 3, 2021 Published in the Spring 2021 issue of Portland Monthly

The Oasis from Mitate

What do you see here? A mayo-drizzled spicy tuna roll? Look closer. Fish is nowhere to be found.

Couple Nino Ortiz and Summer Ortiz are veterans in the sushi world. Between them, their CVs include the stalwart Bamboo Sushi and Yoshi's Sushi cart in Multnomah Village. They launched their pop-up Mitate last November, later joined by another chef, Thai Nguyen. The sushi's textures and flavor profiles remarkably mimic seafood. One translation of the Japanese word mitate is “to see things from a new perspective.” So why not put fruit and vegetables front and center in vegan sushi made with gluten-free ingredients, with all the freshness, seasonality, and sustainability of its raw fish counterpart?

The Mountain roll is an impressive behemoth of vegan flavor, topped with kale and black bean purée.

Artichoke hearts with apple and cauliflower boast the same flakiness and subtle sweetness as crab in the Meadow roll. The Oasis, pictured above, combines grilled shishitos, vegan chile mayo, and roasted squash reminiscent of spicy tuna. The Mountain is an earthy behemoth of almond-infused spinach, sweet tofu, and cucumber wrapped in rice and encased in soy paper, topped with sauteed mushrooms, monumental leaves of baked kale, and a fiery garnish of puréed black beans, black garlic, and black truffle. Even to a fish lover, these rolls hit all the right notes.


The Meadow roll combines apple, cauliflower, cucumber, and artichoke hearts for a flavor and texture that's remarkably similar to crab.

Watch Mitate's website and Instagram page for pop-ups at various locations several times a month, with hopes for a future brick-and-mortar. The next pop-up takes place March 7 and 8 at Mestizo, 2910 SE Division St; orders must be placed in advance here

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