A bit of a radical suggestion, but perhaps with the Barraki as characters we were thinking too small always trying to build them up as a group of warlords? Say maybe characters like them existed, but maybe they never met or weren't even from the same time periods? E.g. Pridak as a lord who tried to overthrow the Ihuan Royal Family, Kalmah as a Mangaian warlord from days before even the monarchy was established, etc.
As for the sushi thing, we have rolls like Kappamaki or Inarizushi that are named after mythological creatures or figures, but don’t actually have anything to do with their namesakes beyond that. So both could still work if you really wanted to make a pitch.
Remember that this is an unofficial reimagining and we can take a few liberties. There was an old proposal that the Great Disk Matoran would be this generation’s Rahkshi before the decision was made to use the Rahaga instead. Ahkmou however became a secondary character as one of the three Merchant Kings of Motara. Same goes for Velika and Hafu, who were both part of major groups like the Chronicler’s Company or the Voya Nui Resistance in G1, now filling the slots for the other two Merchant Kings.
That doesn’t mean Velika needs to be grouped with Balta the Tavoya Turaga, or that Hafu the Merchant King has s to be shoehorned into interacting with Macku the Arbiter for no other reason than “because G1”. Characters that were part of groups can always be rewritten into solo characters. You can draw on their past characteristics certainly, but don't limit yourself to writing them as carbon copies.
That being said, Barraki themed sushi sounds delicious...