Sushi Lola’s struts its stuff 

New expanded space gives chefs room to move

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JESSICA BRYCE YOUNG
  • Photo by Jessica Bryce Young

SUSHI LOLA’S

2902 Corrine Drive | 407-898-5652 | sushilolas.com | $$

Now that Sushi Lola’s has moved into a larger space, there’s a sense that it’s strutting a little. The room is still jammed with close-set tables – expect to share your dinner conversation with neighbors, which is part of the fun – but now there are a lot more of them, and the sushi chefs and kitchen staff have room to move. If the dishes we tried over a few visits last week are any indication, more space equals more taste.

Tsunomono salad (sliced octopus and krab over lemony cucumber) was so delightfully fresh and tender that I forgot all about the many intelligent octopus videos I’ve watched this year. (Sorry, cephalopods.) Another appetizer, the kimchi pancake, could be a meal in itself, and you’ll fight your friends for the last slice. If you do manage to walk out with leftovers, a quick blitz in the oven will bring them back to crispy life. No need to worry, longtime fans: Despite a few menu updates, the stone-bowl bulgogi bibimbap is still spicy, crunchy, steamy rice goodness, and the flaming Magic Roll is still toted precariously throughout the crowded dining room, flames licking the plate (and hopefully not your date’s ear).

There’s a great selection of sushi rolls here, though we might wish for a bit less cream cheese; the uzumaki naruto, hyuga and surf-n-turf rolls all displayed tight technique and a proper balance between first-rate fish and fun. (We expect decent quality, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like spicy mayo and crunch flakes once in a while, too.) Chewy, slippery udon noodles swim in a surprisingly spicy soy-sauce broth, while the tempura shrimp topping is served alongside so as not to get soggy – though I’m not sure any soup could make a double-fried crunch like that mushy.

Parking can be a bitch, as the sleepy strip keeps adding mega-popular spots like Redlight Redlight and P Is for Pie to already-established favorites Park Ave CDs and Junior’s. Do yourself a favor and park on the street. You don’t want to get into a parking beef – bulgogi, kalbi or otherwise.

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