Sushi in Orlando - Wazzabi
- BlackTea Jul 27, 2008 11:35 AM
As I get to work my way through what Orlando has to offer in Sushi, I’ll be dropping by here and adding a thread in this forum. Due to the nature of my job, I get to eat out A LOT, on the road and home in Orlando. This is my opinion based on what I saw and ate all around. When it comes to Japanese cuisine, other than Miso and the occasional serving of Edamame, I only eat sashimi and sushi.
I’ll start with Wazzabi, just because I ate there today and many here know the place
Honestly, I’ve been disappointed with Wazzabi. I gave that place 4 chances and it never wowed me. The fish was on and off but the rice was never properly seasoned.
This is not your average strip mall sushi place; it is large and nicely decorated. The sushi bar is huge and can seat at least 15. The seating area outside is furnished with carved large pieces of wood for seats and tables. I sat there once and didn’t find it comfortable. I recall that the temperature was a little chilly inside one time. It was comfortable when we visited today. The location is good and accessible. Complimentary valet outside, which seemed unnecessary since the parking is right there. No optional self parking on that lot.
Service was good; we were seated fast and relatively well attended to.
I find it alarming though when you glance at the sushi bar and can’t tell the sushi chef from the bus boy. I didn’t converse with those behind the bar to be able to tell if any is truly a sushi chef. A place as large as Wazzabi should have at least 2 or 3 authentic chefs.
Maybe they have chefs, not good chefs though. A good sushi chef pays as much attention to his rice as much as he does to the fish. The seasoning was off in at least 3 out of the 4 times I was there. The fish on today’s Rainbow Roll fell off as soon as the waitress laid the boat on the table, the tuna was a pale pinkish red and what they call a volcano roll looked like (and tasted like) a supermarket California roll with coleslaw on top. I didn’t feel like shedding extra $15 to try the Toro today. The sake, saba and hamachi tasted ok.
This probably would be the last time we visit Wazzabi any time soon…. This time for real.
I agree. For how much you pay, I feel the quality and the taste at Wazzabi is lacking. Just went to Shin on Friday night and loved it. Great sushi, great rolls, nice atmosphere. Also, I had saltwater eel which I had never tried before. It was an enormous piece of sushi, very delcious.
Thanks for sharing and kudos for giving it a second (third and fourth try). I've noticed the same at Wazzabi - my first experience there was awesome, but there's been diminishing attention to detail by the chefs and the quality of the fish has been markedly worse than my initial visits. Recently I've been going to Shin (downtown Orlando) and Shari Sushi Lounge in Thornton Park.
I went once and wasn't impressed. My fave sushi places in Orlando are, in this order:
Zen at the Omni
(Amura, just okay to me)
I haven't tried Bento (I think that's what it's called) at The Plaza yet, and I'd like to try the sushi bar at Primo because it gets rave reviews.
Definitely give Bento a try! It's a fast-casual type of atmosphere, but the rolls are incredible IMHO. I agree with those who give thumbs-up to Shin. It is fabulous! Also, I do enjoy Seito Sushi in Winter Park & Baldwin Park. Haven't been to the one on Sand Lake & Turkey Lake yet.
I was a big fan of the first Bento Cafe in Gainesville, and I only have good things to say about the downtown Orlando location. I recently had a memorable lunch there with my friends before getting married later that day, and the food was tremendous. They have some very creative and delicious rolls, and the bento boxes are great values and artfully prepared. Plus, the place has a very "New York City" sort of look, with lots of shiny chrome and cool blue lighting. I can't wait to go back there with my wife.
bento is also pretty cheap comparatively. the downtown location gives out free parking garage validation too
I agree with what you said about wazzabi, I've been twice and both had medicore experiences, the service was good, it just felt like I was in a place that was trying to act like a japanese sushi place and not a place that is a japanese sushi place.
From your review it sounds like you would love Mikado, the hunters creek location. The brothers that run it are chinese but they are trained in classical japanese cooking and are amazing sushi chefs. The product is always fresh, and they do seasonal specials. It's a small place but it's comfy, clean, and well kept.
The other thing I love is the rice, it always seems perfect, not over salted, and just right. If you ever get a chance and your near south orlando check it out.
13586 Village Park Drive
Orlando, FL 32837