THAI HANA

ADDRESS: 6729 Colonnade Avenue, Suite #105, Melbourne, FL 32940

Good sushi is a rarity out here in the Melbourne area. It’s definitely surprising, especially for a town that is located practically right next to the water. Granted, everyone has different standards when it comes to what they are looking for in sushi, but for me, it is a combination of flavor variety, creativity, and presentation. I really think the phrase “you eat with your eyes first” rings true for sushi, and a plate that wows you visually will just make you more excited to jump right in.

My friend Dave was the one that recommended I check out Thai Hana, tucked away next to the Kohl’s storefront in The Avenue shopping pavilion up in Viera. Funny enough, he had actually recommended the place for the Thai food, since he’s not a big sushi eater, but when we took a visit to the place together, the sushi was what caught my attention when looking over the menu.

From the outside, the restaurant looks to be a relatively small storefront, sandwiched between a hair salon and shoe shop, but on the inside, I think that they use their floorspace very well. There are booths that line the left wall of the restaurant, each one probably able to accommodate six people, four comfortably. There were also an assortment of four-person tables in the front immediately when you walk in, along with six seats available right at the sushi bar. The décor and furniture give me a contemporary vibe, with a bit of Asian influence from the paper lantern lamps that hang over each booth.

Like I mentioned above, the restaurant specializes in both Japanese and Thai food, giving you plenty of options with a packed 11-page menu. Sushi options alone were spread across five pages, making it even more difficult for me to choose what I wanted. From the several times that I’ve been to Thai Hana over the past couple of months, I’ve gotten a chance to sample around the different rolls and they have been consistently delicious.

For my most recent visit, I stopped into the restaurant for lunch after heading into work for a half-day. Even though I arrived closer to 1:30 p.m., the place was still practically full, with only an open table or two remaining. All the seats up at the sushi bar were open though, so I opted to sit up there and watch the sushi chefs at work.

The one thing that I have learned about visiting Thai Hana is not to underestimate the quantity of one roll order. From my past experience, other places might give you eight pieces, each one fitting between your thumb and index finger if you made the OK sign with your hand. At Thai Hana, not only is the size of each sushi piece larger but also the quantity per order can have a max of 10 pieces as well. I made the mistake of getting two rolls one time and was definitely struggling to finish off the final few pieces.

This time around, I ordered the Santa Roll and coupled that with a chicken tempura appetizer, which worked out to be just the right amount of food for me. The appetizer came out of the kitchen pretty quickly, with three vegetables (broccoli, carrot, and sweet potato) fried in the tempura batter, and three pieces of chicken fried with panko breading. Next time, if I’m feeling a little healthier, I might swap out the chicken tempura with an order of edamame instead to pair with a sushi roll. Got to get my veggies somehow!

The Santa Roll, comprised of shrimp tempura, spicy krab, avocado, and cream cheese on the inside, and topped with tuna, panko breadcrumbs, spicy mayo and eel sauce, had a great balance of flavors ranging from sweet to spicy to savory. I did like how the added panko breadcrumbs helped to absorb some of the sauce on the plate, which I scooped onto the sushi pieces before chowing them down. If there’s one common theme to all the rolls that I’ve tried there so far, it’s that the flavor combinations are very diverse and the ingredients always taste very fresh. I haven’t been disappointed by any of their rolls so far.

I do want to also give a special shoutout to another sushi roll, the Hot & Juicy, that I tried for the first time when I went to Thai Hana with my friend Kevin a little while back. We had been contemplating over the menu for which rolls to get when the waiter suggested it, saying that was his favorite roll on the entire menu. The description sounded interesting enough, so we went for it. And the roll absolutely blew us away.

The base roll consists of asparagus, avocado, and cucumber on the inside, which is then deep-fried and cut into individual pieces. On top of each piece goes a mix of tuna, salmon, whitefish, pineapple, orange, seaweed salad, thin slice of jalapeño, masago, and Chef’s spicy sauce. Presentation is gorgeous, with a wide array of colors that jump out at you when it’s plated on a black flat dish. The toppings are certainly piled high, so it’d certainly be impressive if you could eat an entire piece in one bite. But regardless if you do or not, the explosion of flavor in your mouth as they dance through sweet, spicy, and savory in different waves is phenomenal. I cannot stress enough how much this should be on your “must-order” list if you do visit Thai Hana.

For all the times that I have visited Thai Hana, each occasion my experience was consistent: delicious food, great service, and always feeling satisfied. Even if you’re going with people who aren’t into sushi, there’s the diverse Thai food selections that can be explored as well. But for the sushi aficionados, there’s plenty of choices to keep you wanting to come back and try another. Thai Hana has easily become my go-to sushi restaurant in this area.

Let’s now take a look at the Thai Hana Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** Santa Roll **
Shrimp tempura, spicy krab, avocado, and cream cheese on the inside, topped with tuna, panko breadcrumbs, spicy mayo, and eel sauce.

~><~

** Hot & Juicy Roll **
Deep-fried roll of asparagus, avocado, and cucumber, each piece topped with tuna, salmon, whitefish, pineapple, orange, seaweed salad, thin slice of jalapeño, masago, and Chef’s spicy sauce.

~><~

** Monster Roll **
Soft shell crab, asparagus, avocado, krab, and cream cheese on the inside, topped with eel, panko breadcrumbs, fish eggs, spicy mayo, and eel sauce.

~><~

** Key West Roll **
Shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, and asparagus on the inside, topped with masago and eel sauce.

~><~

And finally, here are my rankings for Thai Hana:

Food: 5 / 5

From a sushi perspective, the variety of options gives you so many flavor combinations to choose from. With all of my visits, the quality has always been consistently excellent.

Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5

I’m always a fan of the more modern décor themes, and I think that, despite the small footprint, the restaurant is laid out very well and doesn’t feel congested at all. The vibe is a nice mix between casual and slightly cozy.

Service: 4.75 / 5

The waitstaff here has always been very attentive and friendly during our interactions. They stop by during the meal to check in and see how things are with the food / drinks. Special kudos to the member of the waitstaff that helped us to discover the Hot & Juicy Roll as well!

Price: 5 / 5

While the price of the sushi rolls have been pretty comparable to other Japanese restaurants I’ve been to, it’s the increased number of pieces that you get per roll that sets Thai Hana apart. I don’t hesitate to pay the price for both the value and the quality.

Overall:
19.5 / 20
(98%)

Categories: Florida, Restaurants

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