Adrian Quesada is no stranger to sushi, to quality or to the Keys.
Quesada, who is Cuban, comes from a restauranting family. He and his dad owned tapas restaurants in Spain, where they previously lived. Fifteen years ago, he came to the Keys and eventually became the manager at Islamorada’s upscale Kaiyo Grill & Sushi Bar. There, he honed his sushi prowess and delivered quality sushi to the people of the Upper Keys.
Then COVID-19 hit, and restaurant capacities were limited.
Quesada, who frequented the cult classic Bad Boy Burrito in Islamorada for lunches, had an idea to make quality sushi like he was accustomed to and to offer it out of the very same burrito shack in Village Square at the Trading Post. His hope was to make sushi fresh, simple and fast.
“That’s what I do,” Quesada said. “I bring quality to people and they enjoy it. … I like that you can be very artistic about sushi. Get good ingredients and it makes a difference. People notice that good stuff.”
Bad Boy Sushi at Bad Boy Burrito was born, and Quesada has been rocking-and-(sushi)-rolling for the last month. The two businesses operate separately, but patrons can order from both.
After a busy lunch, Quesada received a shipment of “20 pounds of the good stuff” from Honolulu Fish Company. He showcased the ono, kanpachi and Tasmanian ocean salmon. The latter, “fatty and delicious,” is one of his favorites.
Quesada brings in fish like these from around the world to ensure high quality and freshness. He makes specials with locally-sourced ingredients like tropical star fruit and freshly-speared lionfish. Specials will change weekly, Quesada noted.
His favorite roll to make is the Tuna Lover, a tuna roll filled with fresh mango, avocado, chipotle aioli, a Turkish lime seasoning and topped with more tuna. (We can attest, it is indeed as mind-blowing as it sounds). Or if you’d like a little fusion in your life, go for the sushi-burrito, filled with fresh fish, amazing sauces and unique flavors.
The sushi chef also has the traditional rolls you would expect for lunch, like the Red Dragon Roll, which is shrimp tempura fresh fried, with cream cheese and avocado, and topped with eel, eel sauce and red tobiko. Or, there’s the Rainbow Roll, which is your normal California Roll topped with the chef’s choice of fish. Quesada uses snow crab for his California Roll instead of kani, always in the pursuit of quality and freshness. Quesada even has a Vegan Roll on the menu which is just as satisfying as its seafood substitutes. It has asparagus, cucumber and a Japanese squash, topped with maple sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast.
“Quality brings people back. There’s no other way,” he said. “Everything that I make, I mix it myself, or whip it up here. It’s the freshest you can get.”
Quesada is already dreaming up plans for an expanded dinner menu, but notes that he plans to go slow.
“This is only our third week, only lunch, so I don’t want to get too crazy with it yet,” he said last week.
He notes that the response has been great and that he’s already got regulars coming in. He loves that his sushi will be complementing Bad Boy Burrito’s lunch offerings.
“Everything they do is fresh,” he said of the burrito shack’s food. “There’s a lady actually back here hand-pressing tortillas. All the juices are fresh to order. This is why I wanted to do business with them. We offer the same thing: quality.”
Bad Boy Burrito’s original location in Key West had closed temporarily during COVID-19 shutdowns, but has since reopened in a new location at 119 Fitzpatrick St.
Bad Boy Sushi is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bad Boy Burrito at Village Square at the Trading Post. Be sure to check out the daily specials. For more information, email [email protected] or call 305-509-7782.