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    Offbeat a.m.. fare ranges from a California vegetarian frittata to the meanest sausage-and-potatoes platter outside of Bavaria. Cheery, with generous portions and a limited lunch menu.

    A Brit opening a curry stand is nothing new, but a restaurant steeped in Indian cuisine using a time-honored British dish as a launching pad for seafood fusion? Well, that calls for a closer look. 

    The small, cozy interior of this strip-mall restaurant is more family dining room than seaside shack, but the flashy part is the menu. New England, Floridian and Caribbean seafood styles dominate, often with a curry or southeast Asian twist. But they do traditional just fine: The whiting fish and chips ($7.45, served with cole slaw) is a huge slab of tenderly fresh fish, with a satisfying (but not gratuitous) layer of golden-browned batter. Beyond the basket are entrees like curry shrimp ($12.95, with two sides) pan-seared and slathered in delicious red curry with the spice turned up, surprisingly accurately, to your liking. The side of hush puppies, crispy on moist, is a must-try.

    fish and chips ($7.45, served with cole slaw) is a huge slab of tenderly fresh fish, with a satisfying (but not gratuitous) layer of golden-browned batter. Beyond the basket are entrees like curry shrimp ($12.95, with two sides) pan-seared and slathered in delicious red curry with the spice turned up, surprisingly accurately, to your liking. The side of hush puppies, crispy on moist, is a must-try.

    For around 50 bucks, our table was quickly loaded with more than enough to feed a hungry fivesome – and that's the best thing I can say about a recent visit to Mama Fu's Noodle House in Lake Mary. The rest of the experience – from the food to the service to the ambience – ranged from OK to laughable.

    Interestingly, the randomly numbered laminated cards – ours read "one billion 92" – that diners post on their tables (so orders can be matched up) read: "Laughter can make friends remember ... and enemies forget." Everybody's gotta have a gimmick these days, an approach that is working like gangbusters for 38-year-old entrepreneur Martin Sprock of Raving Brands Inc. Dipping into Florida, his ventures include Mama Fu's, Moe's Southwestern Grill and Planet Smoothie, and there are more concepts on the way. While this Mama Fu's is the first in town, fast expansion plans already call for 13 more. It's a good bet that they'll show up in other Stepford-style shopping malls, such as this one, Colonial Town Park, which has the new Dexter's.

    Interestingly, the randomly numbered laminated cards – ours read "one billion 92" – that diners post on their tables (so orders can be matched up) read: "Laughter can make friends remember ... and enemies forget." Everybody's gotta have a gimmick these days, an approach that is working like gangbusters for 38-year-old entrepreneur Martin Sprock of Raving Brands Inc. Dipping into Florida, his ventures include Mama Fu's, Moe's Southwestern Grill and Planet Smoothie, and there are more concepts on the way. While this Mama Fu's is the first in town, fast expansion plans already call for 13 more. It's a good bet that they'll show up in other Stepford-style shopping malls, such as this one, Colonial Town Park, which has the new Dexter's.

    Walk through the glass doors and you're at the order counter under the wall-board menu of appetizers, salads, entrees and noodle bowls that can be juggled with choices of chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu and veggies. They are not really Asian dishes, but more like a corporate fusion of American tastes and Asian influences, with everything a little too sweet, even the noodles. After ordering a sampling of items, we headed to an outdoor table to avoid the cavernous echo inside – the kind that numbs your senses (and is perfect for letting kids run wild).

    Walk through the glass doors and you're at the order counter under the wall-board menu of appetizers, salads, entrees and noodle bowls that can be juggled with choices of chicken, beef, shrimp and tofu and veggies. They are not really Asian dishes, but more like a corporate fusion of American tastes and Asian influences, with everything a little too sweet, even the noodles. After ordering a sampling of items, we headed to an outdoor table to avoid the cavernous echo inside – the kind that numbs your senses (and is perfect for letting kids run wild).

    On the OK side of the meal were the seared ahi tuna ($5.99 "mama" size/$6.99 "big mama") and "Bangkok basil rolls" ($3.99/$5.99) appetizers. The sesame-encrusted ahi was served on a bed of fresh spinach with a sharp ponzu dipping sauce. There was an odd spice in the peanut sauce, but the rolls were filled with the finely grated crunchiness of carrots, cucumbers, spring lettuce and rice noodles. And the "Mongolian" with beef ("soy glaze with mushrooms, yellow onions and fresh scallion sticks") was ordered with noodles for an additional 99 cents, instead of the usual rice, at the helpful recommendation of the order-taker. Noodles are the definitely the way to go.

    On the OK side of the meal were the seared ahi tuna ($5.99 "mama" size/$6.99 "big mama") and "Bangkok basil rolls" ($3.99/$5.99) appetizers. The sesame-encrusted ahi was served on a bed of fresh spinach with a sharp ponzu dipping sauce. There was an odd spice in the peanut sauce, but the rolls were filled with the finely grated crunchiness of carrots, cucumbers, spring lettuce and rice noodles. And the "Mongolian" with beef ("soy glaze with mushrooms, yellow onions and fresh scallion sticks") was ordered with noodles for an additional 99 cents, instead of the usual rice, at the helpful recommendation of the order-taker. Noodles are the definitely the way to go.

    The "spicy basil" noodle bowl with tofu ($6.99) also benefited from the noodles, and the tofu was nicely sliced and fried for a crispy effect. This is one of the spicy-hot dishes, and it did leave a burn on the lips but without any depth to back it up. The "spicy General Fu" with shrimp ($8.99) was served with rice and featured the battered and fried variety that you buy frozen at the grocery store, and its sauce was an overly sweet and sour one.

    The "spicy basil" noodle bowl with tofu ($6.99) also benefited from the noodles, and the tofu was nicely sliced and fried for a crispy effect. This is one of the spicy-hot dishes, and it did leave a burn on the lips but without any depth to back it up. The "spicy General Fu" with shrimp ($8.99) was served with rice and featured the battered and fried variety that you buy frozen at the grocery store, and its sauce was an overly sweet and sour one.

    On the unpleasant side of the meal, the Thai coconut soup ($1.99/$3.49) and the red Thai curry were curiosities. The base of the soup had a cloying thickness, more like a bisque, and there was not much in the way of the promised black mushrooms and tomatoes. The red curry with chicken ($6.99) had the veggies (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, white mushrooms and red bell peppers), but the sauce was watery and oddly seasoned.

    On the unpleasant side of the meal, the Thai coconut soup ($1.99/$3.49) and the red Thai curry were curiosities. The base of the soup had a cloying thickness, more like a bisque, and there was not much in the way of the promised black mushrooms and tomatoes. The red curry with chicken ($6.99) had the veggies (carrots, broccoli, zucchini, white mushrooms and red bell peppers), but the sauce was watery and oddly seasoned.

    As for service, we moved dirty dishes off our table and shooed away flies. The items were delivered in the order they came out of the kitchen, so appetizers, soups and entrees all piled up at one time. Then we had to track down missing items from the student-age servers, who looked unhappy. The fictitious Mama Fu isn't fooling anyone with this venture.

    Could the urban eco-friendly seafood shack be the new dining trend in this city? The Winter Park Fish Co. has become an undeniable draw for area residents, and now the denizens of Lake Mary have quietly submerged themselves into the soothing maritime surroundings of Fresh on the Fly and its menu advertising 'wild-caught fishâ?� and 'chemical-freeâ?� entrees. I'm not sure how accurate the latter claim could be, given the mercury levels in today's fish (however minute), but I think I get the idea. Sustainability is clearly an important facet of their business, and integral to attracting the diner with a conscience. Their chicken and beef selections are of the hormone-free and grass-fed variety, and the green mindset parlays to plates and utensils as well. Even their servers are as efficient as compact fluorescent light bulbs.

    But the limited menu is an exercise in self-restraint ' just a handful of 'surf-inspired� dishes appear, along with a couple of meat dishes, salads and soups. The signature, a Floridian fish chowder ($3), was a properly chunky tomato-based stew of flounder, potatoes, celery and onions, though a heavy-handed use of black pepper diminished the comfort factor. Blackened mahi-mahi went into the duo of fish tacos ($5). Though the portion was more fitting for lunch than dinner, the tacos were wonderfully fresh, dressed with shredded lettuce, pineapple salsa and a jerk mango sour cream. 

    The same fish made an appearance in the intriguing 'mahi-mahi cheese steakâ?� ($7.50), a wrap that would gratify the proudest of Philadelphians, even if it would've worked better in a traditional hoagie roll. While the cheese grits ($2) were a tad bland, other sides, like grilled corn on the cob and black-eyed pea salad, made excellent accompaniments.

    The finest, and most problematic, dish we sampled was the special: pan-seared North Atlantic salmon ($13) served over sautéed baby spinach and finished with a strawberry-mango beurre blanc. Indeed, the light sauce accentuated the flavors of the succulent fish and the spinach offered a nice finishing kick, but it was my post-meal research that proved troubling. Wild-caught Atlantic salmon, I learned, is on Seafood Watch's 'Avoid� list primarily because of overfishing. From what I gathered, the majority of Atlantic salmon is designated 'farmed,� which is also on the 'Avoid� list. When I called to inquire about the matter, I was reassuringly told that the salmon was 'wild-caught� (not what I wanted to hear) and that, possibly, it was 'Canadian.� Now, if it was Pacific salmon, there wouldn't be a problem, but the menu specifically noted 'N. Atlantic.� A typo? Who knows, but for reference, the Winter Park Fish Co. only serves Canadian (Pacific) and Alaskan salmon. 

    For seafood haters, the chicken sandwich ($7) is a worthy option, with its fluffy bun and moist white meat. Thin-cut fries weren't as crispy as I would've hoped, but decent nonetheless. Desserts like Key lime pie ($3), served with homemade whipped cream, and the coconut cream bar ($3) were competently prepared cappers.

    After a string of unremarkable Italian trattorias and pizzerias, the space in the busy, upscale strip mall is finally poised for success. Like the Winter Park Fish Co., Fresh on the Fly is a welcome anomaly in an age of upmarket seafood houses like Oceanaire Seafood Room, Ocean Prime, Moonfish and Bonefish Grill. The open kitchen reveals a fairly young kitchen corps, but what they lack in age, the lads certainly make up for in execution.

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