Winner: Beef Tsukune Slider
Restaurant: Sumi Robata Bar, Chicago
Sandwich Creator: Chef Gene Kato
Inspiration: The beef tsukune is a playful interpretation of two culinary staples—the Japanese dumpling dish and an all-American hot dog.
Key Ingredients: Ground wagyu beef, Japanese seven spice, grated onion and house-made bao bun.
Food Cost: 20 percent
What Others Said: “The three-bite dish features a beef sausage shaped like a miniature hot dog, wrapped in a soft bao and finished with a stripe of Japanese mustard. It’s far and away the best slider being served in Chicago right now, in no small part because it doesn’t look or taste like a slider at all.” —Time Out Chicago
What the Judges Said: “It doesn’t look or taste like a slider because, in our opinion, it ain’t no stinking slider. But it is one hell of a wrap that’s both creative and reminiscent of a Wisconsin bratwurst. It’s a perfect little package that made us consider putting on some lederhosen and heading to a Kung Fu movie festival. It was an urge we resisted. But the wrap? It’s pretty damn irresistible.”
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