In the world of sushi we all have our favorites and our own take on the balance of sweet and vinegar, excess or simple, modern or traditional, and plain old flare for the exotic. It is no secret that I am a big sushi fan, further, Mikado Metrowest happens to satisfy my weakness. Although, I rank Shin Sushi well on the top of my list. I dined at Mikado Hunter’s Creek a long time ago, so with the new Mikado Lake Mary, I was very thrilled to see if my favorite place could translate to another location.
Not being very familiar with all of Lake Mary, I employed my trusty GPS. When the lovely soothing GPS voice announced “You have reached your destination.” I was still looking around confused. Here I was in a Publix Supermarket Plaza going, huh? So I drove around. I got to the end of the plaza and was still, huh? Oh, I had to look up to see the sign. From Lake Mary Blvd, I saw a sign on this end of the plaza but could not recognize it. Something about the lighting and font of the sign rendered it as a spot on the big expansive wall. The entrance is on the side of the building facing N.Sun Dr.. Maybe it is a feng shui thing, of which I’ll admit I am ignorant, forgive me please. But unless you are right up on the restaurant you can not see it. Oh well, I am here let’s go in.
Welcome to a very modern contemporary take on the more traditional Metrowest and Hunter’s Creek location. The large sushi bar with brick backdrop welcome diners to interact. Dark woods and contrasting wall colors create a very stylish feel. There is a feature wall that boast a gentle display of curves, almost invoking a sense of fluidity. Dark furniture sits on large metallic brushed rectangular porcelain floor tiles to resemble a cozy comfort setting. The gorgeous soft brushed linen metallic rectangular porcelain tiles adorn the bathroom walls, bringing a sense of continuity from the dining room. Tall free flowing glass tubes highlight points of reference in the open dining room. This very stark low lit canvas is a perfect backdrop for showcasing wonderful food.
The menu here has a couple of additions that the other locations does not have. The big addition is “Weekend All You Can Eat Sushi($23.95)”! There is a large combination of regular rolls and a few complicated rolls, for a fixed price. Anyone ready for a sushi throw down? “Rules: no sharing unless they are all you can eat patrons, no taking home. We suggest you don’t order more than you can eat, please be advised that uneaten food will be charged to your bill: $1.25 per pc. sushi (including rice), $1.50 per pc. sashimi, $0.75 per pc. roll. Any kitchen food must be finished before ordering more.” (as shown in menu picture above). Any wavering of the rule you will be spanked and sent to the corner! Really? Why shouldn’t you just go to an “All you can eat buffet”, eat what you want and throw the rest away, rather than be subjected to the spanking? While we were going over the menu and discussing what to order, the manager walked over and suggested we order “All you can eat”. Whatever made him feel like we wanted a spanking for not finishing our food? This location has Hibachi, the popular flat top Japanese cooking method. Unfortunately, there is no magic fancy chef show as the hibachi grills are in the kitchen. But, the amazing “white shrimp sauce” is there.
Squid salad with supposedly a sprinkling of seaweed salad. The menu reads: Squid Salad Julienne cut, marinated squid w. ginger, black mushroom, bamboo shoots $5.95. The server said that there was cucumber at the bottom and she would replace the cucumber with my request for a sprinkling of seaweed. Sounds great, since I love this combination. Oops, someone forgot to mention that there was a $3.00 upcharge! Here is an inside secret, squid and seaweed salad is sourced from a vendor in a box. Some restaurants add different items to stand out. Using cucumbers as a base for squid salad to make it appear as a larger portion is not quite what I expected. Even further, replacing the cucumber and upcharging $3.00 without telling me is adding insult to injury. Miscommunication from my server? Maybe. It is certainly not about $3.00, it is more of the principle. I am going to reiterate, did I mention I like Mikado Metrowest? I thought so.
Sashimi – Smoked salmon, mackerel, toro. Toro has a refrigerated life of maybe two days, three is pushing it. I understand not having this highly perishable item available when there is no market. The Toro was still cold and watery in the middle. While I appreciate the chef’s attempt of serving all sashimi at the same time, I would have been okay had someone communicated that it would take an extra minute rather than serve me icicle. Maybe I am accustomed to having my mackerel with grated ginger, but that was missing. Smoked salmon was spot on.
Nigiri – Tuna and salmon. Both fish texture and flavors were okay. The rice was a little on the sweet side for my palate, but some people like it that way. Flipping this nigiri over, the fish did not stick to the rice. But then again, where in Orlando does this happen?
Yummy Roll– King crab, seaweed salad, spicy mayo rolled w. tempura flakes, laced w. tuna, salmon, whitefish & shrimp. The seaweed salad and tempura flakes, both being very crunchy, drowned out the king crab flavors and textures.
Hot Mama Roll – Smoked salmon rolled w. avocado & crunch, topped w. baked spicy real crab, bay scallop, scallion & masago mixed, flowing w. cinnamon honey sauce. What is missing from the menu description? Soy paper! This is rolled in soy paper. For the squirmish, soy paper is a great substitute if you do not like the texture of seaweed wrapper. Flavors melted well together. Definitely, a highlight of the meal.
BOX C Hibachi Steak w. Sushi (1 pc Tuna & 1 pc Salmon)– The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Tempura was flaky and delicate, all the vegetables were fresh and tasty. Rice was okay. The “white shrimp sauce” was okay. Good value, a lot of food.
The sake list was as expected a close replica of their other locations. There just isn’t a great selection of sakes available from purveyors in Orlando. It does not seem like any sushi restaurants even try to participate, forget excelling on this part of their menu. The wine list on the other hand was a welcomed change. I was surprised to see that there was a good selection of non mainstream wines. Certainly great to see Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer, a nice spicy not so overpowering German wine and a white Montinore Blendon the menu. Montinore “Borealis” is 34% – Muller-Thurgau 34% – Riesling 17% – Pinot Gris 15% – Gewurztraminer, the nose was full of exotic flowers and fruit with a nice balance and acidic finish. Both wines complimented the menu items well. Although, I was a little taken when my server kept repeating Pinot Grigio as I keep saying Gewürztraminer. Are servers only trained to sell varietals they can pronounce? Oh, incidentally the Gewürztraminer was corked. So my server got a new bottle, which she brought to the table. Under pour was not the word, more like a generous tasting. I had to ask for a repour. She did not know the composition of the blend, neither the taste. I am thankful that she was smiling and cordial. Wonder if she thought I was a three headed monster?
I am going to reiterate again, I like Mikado Metrowest. As in any new restaurants there are kinks that have to be worked out. New staff have to get familiar with everything, portion sizes have to get worked out, processes have to get tweaked, and eventually with enough greasing the wheels will turn smoothly. Hopefully, they do not subscribe to build it and they will come. Based on the superior product and service delivery of their Metrowest location I have no doubt that this restaurant will eventually get up to speed.