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After a slowdown from the sushi overload of last year, several new restaurants have opened lately in various parts of town. Gracing the dining hot spot of Sand Lake Road is a familiar name in new clothing: Amura.

Owned by the same folks behind the cozy Church Street location, Amura on Sand Lake is upscale and reservedly glitzy. It's to their credit that, despite some stiff competition and the shaky state of Church Street, Amura has thrived enough to expand.

Owned by the same folks behind the cozy Church Street location, Amura on Sand Lake is upscale and reservedly glitzy. It's to their credit that, despite some stiff competition and the shaky state of Church Street, Amura has thrived enough to expand.

This venue includes teppan tables, secluded on one side of the restaurant from the main room; judging by the appreciative noises coming from that end they seem to go over well. The new Amura is a gorgeous space, with backlit glass walls, rich marble flooring and tiny halogen lights suspended invisibly overhead like stars. But oohs and aahs at the decor quickly turn to gasps at the pricing – $21.99 for boring salt-coated scallops? A "deluxe Isleworth boat" sushi assortment for $99.98?

This venue includes teppan tables, secluded on one side of the restaurant from the main room; judging by the appreciative noises coming from that end they seem to go over well. The new Amura is a gorgeous space, with backlit glass walls, rich marble flooring and tiny halogen lights suspended invisibly overhead like stars. But oohs and aahs at the decor quickly turn to gasps at the pricing – $21.99 for boring salt-coated scallops? A "deluxe Isleworth boat" sushi assortment for $99.98?

The quality of the sushi does remain high, and it's particularly nice to see varieties of fish that have a low environmental impact, like hamachi (yellowtail, a kind of amberjack) and saba (mackerel). The saba is particularly good, with a slightly pickled taste that complements the firm rice. I recommend any of their nigiri sushi or sashimi, which glistens like jewels under those lights, except for the sashimi appetizer ($8.99), which includes a piece of surimi (that horrible fake crab). Surimi also turned up in the sunomono salad ($7.99) – shame on them.

The quality of the sushi does remain high, and it's particularly nice to see varieties of fish that have a low environmental impact, like hamachi (yellowtail, a kind of amberjack) and saba (mackerel). The saba is particularly good, with a slightly pickled taste that complements the firm rice. I recommend any of their nigiri sushi or sashimi, which glistens like jewels under those lights, except for the sashimi appetizer ($8.99), which includes a piece of surimi (that horrible fake crab). Surimi also turned up in the sunomono salad ($7.99) – shame on them.

The rolls didn't fare as well as the sushi. The "bamboo wine roll" ($8.99) of white tuna wrapped in avocado was limp and tasteless, the avocado overwhelming other flavors. And the "Magic roll" ($7.99), with shrimp, crab and asparagus was so soggy with a sweet, watery sauce, that it was almost impossible to pick up.

The rolls didn't fare as well as the sushi. The "bamboo wine roll" ($8.99) of white tuna wrapped in avocado was limp and tasteless, the avocado overwhelming other flavors. And the "Magic roll" ($7.99), with shrimp, crab and asparagus was so soggy with a sweet, watery sauce, that it was almost impossible to pick up.

It's when we get to the kitchen that everything falls apart. Not everyone likes the same thing, but I'll bet very few people enjoy oily and lukewarm shrimp tempura, with batter-dipped vegetables that are either undercooked or in such large pieces, like the broccoli, that raw batter sits inside as an unpleasant surprise. All that for $16.95. "fiery garlic chicken" ($15.99), a small portion of chewy chicken bits, was more overseasoned than fiery. The "geisha shrimp" ($18.99) were battered, then covered in an odd white sauce, with a bitter, burnt garlic taste that lingered for hours.

It's when we get to the kitchen that everything falls apart. Not everyone likes the same thing, but I'll bet very few people enjoy oily and lukewarm shrimp tempura, with batter-dipped vegetables that are either undercooked or in such large pieces, like the broccoli, that raw batter sits inside as an unpleasant surprise. All that for $16.95. "fiery garlic chicken" ($15.99), a small portion of chewy chicken bits, was more overseasoned than fiery. The "geisha shrimp" ($18.99) were battered, then covered in an odd white sauce, with a bitter, burnt garlic taste that lingered for hours.

If you go, stay with what Amura knows best – sushi – and let the kitchen staff take a break.

A much-awaited renovation gives an updated look and feel to this downtown establishment hidden away on Church Street. Blissfully undiminished is the quality of the food ' seaweed salad that crunches just right and sushi so fresh it needs no adornment (though the elaborate rolls are delicious).

From the shores of Brooklyn comes Bayridge Sushi, one of the newest entries in metro Orlando's crowded Japanese-restaurant market.

Not that Brooklyn isn't also teeming with sushi and sashimi. Bay Ridge is a tiny neighborhood right on the New York Bay, and to succeed there, you have to be darn good.

Not that Brooklyn isn't also teeming with sushi and sashimi. Bay Ridge is a tiny neighborhood right on the New York Bay, and to succeed there, you have to be darn good.

Owner and sushi chef Ben Lu was trained by a venerable Manhattan sushi master for many years, and says he moved his restaurant here for the "business opportunities."

Owner and sushi chef Ben Lu was trained by a venerable Manhattan sushi master for many years, and says he moved his restaurant here for the "business opportunities."

Bayridge Sushi is in an odd, slightly cowboy-looking building on the outside, but inside it's thoroughly Far East, with paper screens and blond wood surrounding intimate tables, and the sushi bar up front. There is even a tatami room for those nimble of knee.

Bayridge Sushi is in an odd, slightly cowboy-looking building on the outside, but inside it's thoroughly Far East, with paper screens and blond wood surrounding intimate tables, and the sushi bar up front. There is even a tatami room for those nimble of knee.

Unlike a lot of local Japanese eateries, the menu isn't numbingly extensive, but it narrows the hot dishes down to teriyaki, noodles and tempura, focusing instead on sushi and rolls.

Unlike a lot of local Japanese eateries, the menu isn't numbingly extensive, but it narrows the hot dishes down to teriyaki, noodles and tempura, focusing instead on sushi and rolls.

I liked the slightly expensive but convenient a la carte sushi menu, from which you can order single pieces that show off Lu's talents.

I liked the slightly expensive but convenient a la carte sushi menu, from which you can order single pieces that show off Lu's talents.

The white tuna (shiro, $4.25) is an absolute order; hold the morsel in your mouth and let the buttery fish slowly cook on your tongue.

The white tuna (shiro, $4.25) is an absolute order; hold the morsel in your mouth and let the buttery fish slowly cook on your tongue.

Eel (unagi, $4.25) is my weakness, prepared here with less of the obligatory sweet sauce to let the flavor shine through.

Eel (unagi, $4.25) is my weakness, prepared here with less of the obligatory sweet sauce to let the flavor shine through.

The tuna is bright pink to dark red, depending on the cut ($3.95 to $4.45), and it tastes of clear water.

The tuna is bright pink to dark red, depending on the cut ($3.95 to $4.45), and it tastes of clear water.

My only complaint was the "crab stick" ($3.25) which, like the crab-dumpling appetizer ($4.50) was not real crab, but surimi – you know, that formed whitefish stuff.

My only complaint was the "crab stick" ($3.25) which, like the crab-dumpling appetizer ($4.50) was not real crab, but surimi – you know, that formed whitefish stuff.

A better choice is the slightly pickled mackerel with its bracing vinegar bite (saba, $3.25).

A better choice is the slightly pickled mackerel with its bracing vinegar bite (saba, $3.25).

The appetizer that was particularly pleasing was the nasu ($3.25), a small jewel of a Japanese eggplant, split and broiled with a topping of miso and ponzu sauce for a sweet contrast to the deep eggplant flavor.

The appetizer that was particularly pleasing was the nasu ($3.25), a small jewel of a Japanese eggplant, split and broiled with a topping of miso and ponzu sauce for a sweet contrast to the deep eggplant flavor.

I'm actually not a fan of rolls, but there's a wide selection of not-too-bizarre combinations. The "rainbow," "California" and "dragon" rolls are all here (and not much different from other local concoctions), but I did like the taste and texture variations in the "Bayridge roll" of tuna, salmon and avocado ($8.95).

I'm actually not a fan of rolls, but there's a wide selection of not-too-bizarre combinations. The "rainbow," "California" and "dragon" rolls are all here (and not much different from other local concoctions), but I did like the taste and texture variations in the "Bayridge roll" of tuna, salmon and avocado ($8.95).

Bayridge Sushi is a long way from the Brooklyn shores, but in its new Florida digs is a smart choice for tasty, well-prepared sushi.

Sushi and noodles are all the rage at this cool lunch spot. Handsomely presented "torch rolls" with conch, scallops, salmon, tuna and sriracha are luscious, while spicy red tobiko proffer a proper pop. Bento boxes run the gamut and a bonanza of boba awaits tea-totalers.

You can tell that size matters to Bobby Moore. The local restaurateur seems to believe that good things come in big, sometimes gargantuan, packages. Step inside the Big Fin Seafood Kitchen ' his 11,000-square-foot behemoth of a seafood emporium ' and you'll see that philosophy in action: It's an imposing space with a centerpiece globe dangling from the high ceiling and large murals reading 'Best Tails in Townâ?� and 'We've Got the Crabs.â?� Classy. Then again, Big Fin is a perfect fit amid the grandiose environs of the Dellagio Town Center. Ample square footage appears to be a requisite for tenancy here ' a requirement Moore was more than happy to satisfy after the economy and the tax man harpooned his previous venture, Beluga, in Winter
Park Village.

Still, finding refuge in this enormous and clamorous fish tank is possible ' just ask for a table in the carpeted Atlantic Room and conversations can be had with your dining comrades. 

You'll certainly hear cries of disappointment if they run out of crab legs (as was the case on the Saturday evening we visited), murmurs of dissatisfaction after slurping the 'ya ya gumboâ?� ($5.95) and exclamations of joy at the shrimp cocktail ($9.95) and can't-eat-just-one flash-fried potato chips ($7.95), served with a roasted garlic-horseradish gorgonzola fondue. Yellowtail nigiri ($4.95) had us nodding our heads, yes, yes; room-temperature tuna sashimi ($4.95), not so much. The steakhouse roll ($6.95), with shaved prime rib, asparagus, horseradish mayonnaise and arugula, was different, but not different enough. 'It was almost innovative,â?� one of my dining partners remarked.

When the mains arrived, we were hopeful for a better effort from the kitchen. Blue crab crusted grouper ($29.95), served with a light beurre blanc, lived up to all expectations. Both the fish and the crab pancake were perfect. Garlic mashed potatoes, sadly, were dry to the point of being crumbly. Queen snapper en papillote ($24.95) was a letdown not because of its flavor, but because it was unevenly cooked. The same lapse plagued the pan-seared mahi mahi piccata ($22.95), an otherwise flavorful fillet topped with lemon, capers and again with the beurre blanc.

The pound-and-a-half broiled Maine lobster ($26.95) fulfilled the restaurant's assertion of serving the best tails in town. Unfortunately, the rest of the crustacean's flesh was zapped of its succulence due to overbroiling. Indeed, parts appeared blackened ' not browned ' and no measure of melted butter could've salvaged this
charred invertebrate.

But dessert provided sweet redemption. A homemade New Orleans-style bread pudding ($5.95) was given a delightfully airy rendering, with caramelized banana slices, vanilla ice cream and amaretto sauce. The big finale came in the form of the 'Big Fin dessert� ($14.95), a rich, decadent milk chocolate brownie cup drizzled with caramel sauce and speckled with pecans. It was big enough to finish off a table of four and helped erase the slightly bitter memory of the mains. 

The fresh catch, the service and even the soaring space put Big Fin in an enviable position. If it shores up the kitchen, it should do swimmingly.

Picking up sushi for dinner on the way home from work is a fairly daunting proposition in that it usually means stopping by the Japanese deli case near the produce section at your local grocery store. The convenience is nice, but the sushi – while tolerable and far better than a delivery pizza – leaves something to be desired (especially the weird, plastic-looking tuna). If you're one of the approximately 80 billion people who uses East Colonial Drive for the daily trip home, you've no doubt noticed the poster-sized photo of the scrumptious-looking "Sky Tray" of sushi that graces the window of Bikkuri Sushi and wondered: Wouldn't that be great for dinner?

Although there is limited seating inside Bikkuri, the restaurant's specialty is takeout, as the menu is almost completely composed of takeout trays. From the Rose Party (32 pieces, all rolls; $13.29) to the African Violet (80 pieces of rolls, 10 nigiri sushi; $46.59), a variety of sizes and combinations is available and all of them are, surprisingly enough, priced more reasonably than the stuff in the grocery store.

The 72 pieces (and $50 price tag) of the Sky Tray might be a little much for a typical after-work meal, but I had friends coming over and figured it would be a good opportunity to sample Bikkuri's skills. Still, none of us expected Bikkuri's fare to be as fresh as it was. Some of the nigiri wasn't cut to perfection (a tiny piece of bone showed up in some yellowtail), but the fish was excellent and well-chosen, and the rolls were beautiful and bursting with flavor.

It would have been unimaginable a few years ago to think about picking up sushi as easily as picking up a pizza, much less FRESH sushi, but Bikkuri's tray combinations make it easy, and their excellent sushi makes it a pleasure.

In the midst of celebrity-branded restaurants and kiosks slinging theme-park kitsch, the Cowfish at Universal CityWalk, occupying a sprawling three-story space with more than 500 seats, fills the need for a kind of inventive, delightfully weird cuisine. There’s a menu section for burgers, one for sushi, and a selection of bizarre combinations requiring a suspension of disbelief, like the Buffaloooo-shi burgushi roll: chipotle bison, fried green tomato and feta rolled in crispy tempura flakes. It works.

We all know what image the word "buffet" conjures up, and it's not a complimentary one if you're looking for a fine meal. Add "crazy" to that, all sorts of pictures spring to mind that would make the late eccentric filmmaker Ed Wood blush.

So my problem is in finding an alternative phrase for a place called "Crazy Buffet" to describe how impressive it is. Part of a small chain, this location (open since October 2001) has a giant pink facade with a pagoda on top and "gee whiz" decor inside: The black-marble entry, bubbling streams and many dining rooms will make your mouth fall open.

So my problem is in finding an alternative phrase for a place called "Crazy Buffet" to describe how impressive it is. Part of a small chain, this location (open since October 2001) has a giant pink facade with a pagoda on top and "gee whiz" decor inside: The black-marble entry, bubbling streams and many dining rooms will make your mouth fall open.

Called an "upscale Japanese" restaurant, many of the offerings are Chinese, including a not-too-sweet honey chicken, tofu-laden hot-and-sour soup, and crunchy, shell-on salt-and-pepper shrimp. Lo mein fans won't be disappointed; neither will seekers of peppery Szechuan beef.

Called an "upscale Japanese" restaurant, many of the offerings are Chinese, including a not-too-sweet honey chicken, tofu-laden hot-and-sour soup, and crunchy, shell-on salt-and-pepper shrimp. Lo mein fans won't be disappointed; neither will seekers of peppery Szechuan beef.

It's when you find bowls of Japanese udon noodles and crabmeat waiting for a ladle of rich broth, or sweet black-hijiki-seaweed salad, or rich and comforting miso soup, that things become interesting.

It's when you find bowls of Japanese udon noodles and crabmeat waiting for a ladle of rich broth, or sweet black-hijiki-seaweed salad, or rich and comforting miso soup, that things become interesting.

I have had sushi made with higher grade fish locally, but I've also had a lot worse and paid a lot more. The best part for sushi lovers is that you can choose your favorite and eat all you want. Toasted salmon-skin rolls, California rolls, the interestingly different "house" roll that's fried on the outside with moist fish within, broiled unagi (eel), a refreshing, spicy chopped octopus, sweet red tuna -- the assortment changes with supply, but it's all worth a try.

I have had sushi made with higher grade fish locally, but I've also had a lot worse and paid a lot more. The best part for sushi lovers is that you can choose your favorite and eat all you want. Toasted salmon-skin rolls, California rolls, the interestingly different "house" roll that's fried on the outside with moist fish within, broiled unagi (eel), a refreshing, spicy chopped octopus, sweet red tuna -- the assortment changes with supply, but it's all worth a try.

Desserts, particularly the green-tea cake, are a step above the ordinary, and the bread -- always my first indicator of how much a restaurant cares about its food -- is superb.

Desserts, particularly the green-tea cake, are a step above the ordinary, and the bread -- always my first indicator of how much a restaurant cares about its food -- is superb.

Service (yes, there are servers who bring drinks and clear used plates) is attentive and polite. Lunch ($9.95, or $15.95 for weekend brunch) is a great deal for sushi fanatics, and dinner ($18.95 to $21.95, depending on the day) features a one-shot hibachi counter: Pick some vegetables, your meat of choice (chicken, beef, pork or seafood) and a sauce, and it will appear at your table.

Service (yes, there are servers who bring drinks and clear used plates) is attentive and polite. Lunch ($9.95, or $15.95 for weekend brunch) is a great deal for sushi fanatics, and dinner ($18.95 to $21.95, depending on the day) features a one-shot hibachi counter: Pick some vegetables, your meat of choice (chicken, beef, pork or seafood) and a sauce, and it will appear at your table.

Think of it more as Asian communal eating rather than a buffet. And since there are Japanese creatures akin to foxes running wild in their native country, I'll coin a new phrase and say, "Crazy Buffet is crazy like a kitsune."

Rumor had it that in recent years, Dragonfly – Gainesville's much-lauded modern izakaya – had lost some of its luster in its effort to maintain "it spot" status among the college town's cognoscenti. So, like those naysayers' attitudes, the posh Japanese resto headed south to the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando, intent on wowing a less judgmental audience. At first blush, the place does indeed impress – the glossy wraparound sushi bar and angled bento-box ceiling are pure eye candy inside this trendster's haven. Tranquil it's not, but with a name like Dragonfly," one would expect the joint to be abuzz in music, chatter and hubbub, and it is. The restaurant's website, however, offers an alternative description of the vibe:

Dragonfly strives to reach an emotional enlightenment through the balancing of the Sensual, Spiritual and Savory philosophy. Dragonfly is a modern day female yakuza boss.

The first sentence reads like a bad Babelfish translation; the second – well, that's just bloody amusing, if not a little threatening. Really, apart from the heavily bandaged pinkies on all the servers and cooks, there's nothing remotely menacing here. Daunting, yes – for instance, the menu, which comprises a swarm of small plates of the sushi, sashimi and robata (grilled simply over charcoal) variety. The indulgent passion platter ($24) is a testament to the slicing skills of the sashimi chefs – nine pieces of ruby-red tuna, plush salmon and buttery izume dai (farm-raised tilapia) are artfully presented, while yellowtail sashimi ($6) is spectacularly melt-in-your-mouth. Signature dragonfly rolls ($14), while meaty, are somewhat cumbersome, with tuna and albacore wrapped with thick strips of grouper, then topped with scallions and eel sauce. The fact that the rolls are baked lends to their corpulence, but it's all just a bit too much for its own good. A mistake in our order resulted in a complimentary plate of yellowtail collar (regularly $14), a truly outstanding piece of fish and, like all their robata items, grilled over imported, smoke-free bincho-tan charcoal. 

Other robata favorites we joyfully gorged on were shishito peppers ($4), skewered chicken breast ($5) and sublime bone-in short ribs ($9) served with kimchi. The latter, a nod to Korean galbi, is further sparked with a dip into the spicy mayo and orange yuzu sauces. Both beef tataki ($10), made of rare, lightly seared ribeye mixed with daikon and ponzu, and sesame-bolstered wakame salad ($5) show that the kitchen can also do the simple things right. No izakaya experience would be complete without a swig of sake ' we liked the crisp, clean and mellow taste of the Hatsumago junmaishu ($24).

Desserts aren't listed on a menu but, rather, recited by rote. We nodded when "green tea tiramisu" ($7) was uttered, which turned out to be more gimmick than concept. The red-bean ice cream ($3) was as modest and toothsome as a meal-ender can get; the bowl came with dollops of flavorless green-tea ice cream and surprisingly snappy ginger ice cream, but we would've preferred three scoops of that blushy confection.

There's no question that Dragonfly is dressed to impress, and with Amura and Nagoya just yards away, the sushi scene on the corner of Sand Lake Road and Dr. Phillips Boulevard has certainly gotten a lot more competitive. For Dragonfly's sake, here's hoping it doesn't make like its namesake and live an intense, albeit fleeting, existence.

There's no question that Dragonfly is dressed to impress, and with Amura and Nagoya just yards away, the sushi scene on the corner of Sand Lake Road and Dr. Phillips Boulevard has certainly gotten a lot more competitive. For Dragonfly's sake, here's hoping it doesn't make like its namesake and live an intense, albeit fleeting, existence.

Believe it or not, some of the best sushi in our humble burg comes from the Bangladeshi brothers behind Winter Park's fiercely popular Fuji Sushi. One of the brothers, known simply as Mohani to his many sushi worshippers, is to seaweed and sticky rice what Picasso was to paint and canvas. Luckily for his fans on the west side, Mohani has opened a sister location in the Universal Studios/Dr. Phillips area, with a super-hip classic modern/Japanese décor that's a stark contrast to the flagship. Here at Fuji's spiffy new spot, you can sit at the space-agey, frosted-glass sushi bar, underlit with glowing blue lights, and indulge in some of the most amazing sushi this side of Tokyo.

With so many sushi restaurants to choose from, it's not hard to find a decent slice of yellowtail or tuna. So how does one stand out in an ocean of sushi? For Fuji, it's the rolls. As a major creative force behind Fuji's culinary fame, Mohani dares to develop the most unheard-of food combinations in the history of sushi. Take the "candy cane" roll ($8.95), for example. Named for its striped, candylike appearance, it combines spicy snow crab and asparagus topped with red and buttery white tuna strips. The combination, especially the two tunas, will impress even the most discerning of palates.

With so many sushi restaurants to choose from, it's not hard to find a decent slice of yellowtail or tuna. So how does one stand out in an ocean of sushi? For Fuji, it's the rolls. As a major creative force behind Fuji's culinary fame, Mohani dares to develop the most unheard-of food combinations in the history of sushi. Take the "candy cane" roll ($8.95), for example. Named for its striped, candylike appearance, it combines spicy snow crab and asparagus topped with red and buttery white tuna strips. The combination, especially the two tunas, will impress even the most discerning of palates.

For a richer, more buttery taste, the "polar bear" roll ($7.50) delivers the goods with salmon, white tuna, cream cheese and crunchy tempura crumbs.

For a richer, more buttery taste, the "polar bear" roll ($7.50) delivers the goods with salmon, white tuna, cream cheese and crunchy tempura crumbs.

A big part of Fuji's success lies in the something-for-everyone menu. You don't have to eat -- or even like -- raw fish to enjoy a meal here. Vegetarians can choose from a variety of hearty rolls, like the toothy "Popeye" roll ($5.25), done with spinach and tempura sweet potato.

A big part of Fuji's success lies in the something-for-everyone menu. You don't have to eat -- or even like -- raw fish to enjoy a meal here. Vegetarians can choose from a variety of hearty rolls, like the toothy "Popeye" roll ($5.25), done with spinach and tempura sweet potato.

Low-carbers craving something more exciting than plain ol' sashimi will be thrilled by the "naruto maki" roll ($6.50) of salmon, crab, avocado, cream cheese and ponju sauce in thinly coiled cucumber instead of rice.

Low-carbers craving something more exciting than plain ol' sashimi will be thrilled by the "naruto maki" roll ($6.50) of salmon, crab, avocado, cream cheese and ponju sauce in thinly coiled cucumber instead of rice.

If you like fish, but not the raw variety, the whitefish "dynamite" roll ($6.95) lives up to its name. Topped with a mixture of the cooked fish in a spicy, creamy sauce and broiled until browned, the end product melts in your mouth; you and your dining partner will be eyeing the last piece.

If you like fish, but not the raw variety, the whitefish "dynamite" roll ($6.95) lives up to its name. Topped with a mixture of the cooked fish in a spicy, creamy sauce and broiled until browned, the end product melts in your mouth; you and your dining partner will be eyeing the last piece.

The "dancing eel" roll ($8.25) might create a similar scuffle with its perfectly grilled eel, generously draped over a roll of crab, avocado, cream cheese and slightly sweet eel sauce.

The "dancing eel" roll ($8.25) might create a similar scuffle with its perfectly grilled eel, generously draped over a roll of crab, avocado, cream cheese and slightly sweet eel sauce.

While the culinary delights of Fuji Sushi's many famous rolls are no secret to legions of Central Floridians, the sushi empire's new location still is, so go now while its still fairly new; inevitably, with food this good, getting a table there is bound to become a bloodsport.

What do soft-shell crabs have in common with the Orlando Magic? Sports fans could debate this for hours, but the answer is: They're on the menu at Fuji Sushi – sort of.

This new restaurant near the busy crossroads of Lee Road and Highway 17-92 offers some of the most sumptuous sushi in the Winter Park area, and they name it after local points of interest. So the "Orlando Magic roll" ($8.95) is prepared with soft-shell crab and chopped vegetables. The "Lee Road roll" ($5.95) contains eel and salmon skin. The "Rollins roll" ($4.95) offers crab, avocado, cucumbers with a tempura batter.

This new restaurant near the busy crossroads of Lee Road and Highway 17-92 offers some of the most sumptuous sushi in the Winter Park area, and they name it after local points of interest. So the "Orlando Magic roll" ($8.95) is prepared with soft-shell crab and chopped vegetables. The "Lee Road roll" ($5.95) contains eel and salmon skin. The "Rollins roll" ($4.95) offers crab, avocado, cucumbers with a tempura batter.

The names and ingredients don't always match up, or even make sense, but when the sushi is this good, who cares? Dining here was a rediscovery of how sensual sushi can be. Really good sushi, the kind served at Fuji, is dense in texture, yet light and oceanic in its flavors. A little bit goes a long way and is immensely satisfying.

The names and ingredients don't always match up, or even make sense, but when the sushi is this good, who cares? Dining here was a rediscovery of how sensual sushi can be. Really good sushi, the kind served at Fuji, is dense in texture, yet light and oceanic in its flavors. A little bit goes a long way and is immensely satisfying.

As a prelude to dinner, we enjoyed the "Fuji roll" ($7.95). Each slice was plump and heavy, packed with an array of hamachi, eel, scallions, cucumbers and asparagus. It was rolled in sesame seeds and flying-fish eggs for a blaze of atomic-orange color. Another appetizing variety is the "rock and roll" ($7.95), with tuna, eel, crab, asparagus and scallions. As a clever touch, the sliced rolls were cradled on the deck of a polished miniature boat platter.

As a prelude to dinner, we enjoyed the "Fuji roll" ($7.95). Each slice was plump and heavy, packed with an array of hamachi, eel, scallions, cucumbers and asparagus. It was rolled in sesame seeds and flying-fish eggs for a blaze of atomic-orange color. Another appetizing variety is the "rock and roll" ($7.95), with tuna, eel, crab, asparagus and scallions. As a clever touch, the sliced rolls were cradled on the deck of a polished miniature boat platter.

Moving along to soups and salads, we preferred osumashi ($1), clear fish broth, although the miso soup ($1) was not bad, with its soy-bean broth. We couldn't resist the hijiki ($4), a warm salad of black seaweed that had an intriguing smokiness. Of everything we ordered, this was the item that caused dueling chopsticks. A close second was ika karage ($4), strips of garlic-battered squid meat, then deep fried.

Moving along to soups and salads, we preferred osumashi ($1), clear fish broth, although the miso soup ($1) was not bad, with its soy-bean broth. We couldn't resist the hijiki ($4), a warm salad of black seaweed that had an intriguing smokiness. Of everything we ordered, this was the item that caused dueling chopsticks. A close second was ika karage ($4), strips of garlic-battered squid meat, then deep fried.

Out of curiosity, we tried the "Japanese curry" platter ($11.95), a medley of seafood, vegetables and rice in a mild sauce. It was OK but served as a reminder that curry is best saved for Indian restaurants.

Out of curiosity, we tried the "Japanese curry" platter ($11.95), a medley of seafood, vegetables and rice in a mild sauce. It was OK but served as a reminder that curry is best saved for Indian restaurants.

Adding to our enjoyment, the decor is simple and subdued. Lustrous wood partitions envelop the tables and make them seem utterly private, and the primary lighting comes from a single rice paper lantern.

Adding to our enjoyment, the decor is simple and subdued. Lustrous wood partitions envelop the tables and make them seem utterly private, and the primary lighting comes from a single rice paper lantern.

The service is sensitive and responsive. A glance from across the room brought someone immediately to the table. Fuji Sushi pays attention to detail – and it shows.

Altamonte Drive near I-4 isn't exactly known as a dining hot spot, what with the never-ending strip of fast food, chain food and, well, almost-food lining the road. Still, there are a few shining moments in the otherwise ketchup-slathered landscape, such as Amira's and Sam Seltzer's nearby and, for a fairly decent meal just outside Altamonte Mall, Bahama Breeze.

Add to that list Hana Sushi, situated in the Renaissance Shopping Center on the west side of the mall. It's a plaza going through a transition, with many stores vacant or under construction, and I guess the Hana folks, who have been there since December, are hoping the changes will do them good, because right now it is an obscure place to eat sushi.

Add to that list Hana Sushi, situated in the Renaissance Shopping Center on the west side of the mall. It's a plaza going through a transition, with many stores vacant or under construction, and I guess the Hana folks, who have been there since December, are hoping the changes will do them good, because right now it is an obscure place to eat sushi.

Like many of the town's new sushi bars, it's scantly decorated with light wood tables and some lovely brush prints on the walls. I felt sorry for the four fish in the corner tank and wondered if they knew what was going on right in front of them.

Like many of the town's new sushi bars, it's scantly decorated with light wood tables and some lovely brush prints on the walls. I felt sorry for the four fish in the corner tank and wondered if they knew what was going on right in front of them.

The restaurant's tables were practically empty when we were there, but the sushi bar was amazingly crowded with people who were obviously regulars, a surprising thing for such an odd location, with several people wagering who could eat the largest lump of wasabi. I guess nobody bets on football anymore.

The restaurant's tables were practically empty when we were there, but the sushi bar was amazingly crowded with people who were obviously regulars, a surprising thing for such an odd location, with several people wagering who could eat the largest lump of wasabi. I guess nobody bets on football anymore.

The sushi menu is full of those specialty rolls that combine odd and usually cooked ingredients for those who don't think pristinely fresh tuna is inventive enough but haven't gotten the hang of raw fish yet. I ordered the rainbow roll ($6.95), which seemed interesting: tuna, carrot and cucumber wrapped with grilled eel, which is a weakness of mine. It would have been perfect if not for the inclusion of cream cheese (who came up with that?) that melded the tastes and textures into one schmear-laden blur.

The sushi menu is full of those specialty rolls that combine odd and usually cooked ingredients for those who don't think pristinely fresh tuna is inventive enough but haven't gotten the hang of raw fish yet. I ordered the rainbow roll ($6.95), which seemed interesting: tuna, carrot and cucumber wrapped with grilled eel, which is a weakness of mine. It would have been perfect if not for the inclusion of cream cheese (who came up with that?) that melded the tastes and textures into one schmear-laden blur.

It may not be the best Japanese food in town, but you sure get a lot of it. Along with the regular list of tempuras and grilled meats, the definitive choice has to be the $19.95 bento box dinner. It comes with a ginger-dressed salad, miso soup, tuna roll, four pieces of sushi, tempura veggies, fried spring roll and your choice of chicken teriyaki, or shrimp or chicken tempura. Unfortunately, one of the "sushi" used that fake crabmeat, which I just object to on principle. But the food just keeps coming, bowl followed by plate followed by a lovely red and black box stuffed with food.

It may not be the best Japanese food in town, but you sure get a lot of it. Along with the regular list of tempuras and grilled meats, the definitive choice has to be the $19.95 bento box dinner. It comes with a ginger-dressed salad, miso soup, tuna roll, four pieces of sushi, tempura veggies, fried spring roll and your choice of chicken teriyaki, or shrimp or chicken tempura. Unfortunately, one of the "sushi" used that fake crabmeat, which I just object to on principle. But the food just keeps coming, bowl followed by plate followed by a lovely red and black box stuffed with food.

Sushi bars were never meant to be the chic, reverent eateries that a lot of folks have elevated them to: They were probably the original fast-food joints. Hana Sushi, tucked into a shopping center, has the right attitude.

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