ADDRESS: 3042 West New Haven Avenue, West Melbourne, FL 32904

Ever since moving down to Florida back in December, I had been on the hunt to find some good sushi. That search initially brought me to Seito Sushi up in Orlando, where it was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment. After that, I decided to turn my search closer to home and stick within the Melbourne area to see what I could find. Umami Restaurant and Sushi Bar popped up on the radar, with some relatively good reviews and nice looking pictures of sushi rolls (some of which were identical to the ones from my visit to Seito). My friend Shyam said he wanted to take a break from eating pizza for 4 consecutive days, so we headed over to give Umami a shot.

Located inside the Metro West shopping plaza, Umami is a few storefronts down from the Subway (I actually drove right by it the first time searching the plaza for the place). The dining area is relatively smaller, probably able to accommodate 25 – 30 people total. There’s the option to either sit at tables or at the sushi bar, located all the way at the back of the restaurant. The feel of the dining area still stayed relatively on the casual side, although the lighting was dimmed down a little bit and added a slightly intimate vibe to the atmosphere. Darkened front windows helped to filter out any bright lights from the exterior as well, preserving that atmosphere throughout the restaurant. For a Saturday evening, the crowd was pretty light, with only a handful of tables occupied when we got there. The hostess led us over to a table and gave us the menus, where we began to ponder over the sushi roll selection.

Like I mentioned above, I was certainly surprised to find a couple of identical sushi rolls at Umami that I had seen up at Seito Sushi in Orlando: the Distinguished Gentleman and Corona were two that jumped out on the list. I’m not sure if those rolls are a regional specialty, since I hadn’t heard of either until coming out to this area. Shyam and I wanted to give several different rolls a try, so we each ordered two apiece. I went with the Distinguished Gentleman and Boba Fett, while he went with the Bang Dang and Corona.

It probably helped that there was a light number of people in the restaurant eating at the time, because the sushi chefs were pretty efficient about getting our food out to us fast. Shyam had gotten an order of edamame to help tide over his hunger, and it was just as we were finishing off the last few pieces when both plates of sushi came. Shyam’s plate had a more elegant look, with the Corona Roll arranged diagonally across the whole plate and the Bang Dang Roll split up on each side. On my plate, the Boba Fett Roll was the more interesting plating arrangement of the two: all pieces were placed in a circular pattern, with a large mound of crab salad dropped right on top and garnished with some scallions.

The Distinguished Gentleman Roll was one I had tried at Seito Sushi and, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really that impressed. It was my hope that Umami could redeem my impression of the roll, and I think that it was successful in that regard. In almost a mini-interpretation of a “surf-and-turf,” the Distinguished Gentleman features a combination of Maine lobster and seared rare beef, complimented by avocado, masago, and scallions, finished with jalapeño slices, truffle salt, and wasabi aioli on top. The flavors of the jalapeño and wasabi combined well to contrast with some of the more subtle flavors from the other ingredients. I do think, however, that the wasabi aioli might have been too overpowering that it drowned out the more subtle flavor of the lobster.

As for the other roll that I ordered, the Boba Fett, I think that I preferred that one over the Distinguished Gentleman. At the base, it was a California Roll wrapped in avocado, topped with crab salad, baked scallop chunks, masago, and finished with some eel sauce and scallions. What I liked about it though, was that the spicy and savory flavors of the crab salad accentuated the California Roll (avocado and crab stick) really well, with the eel sauce adding some sharper contrast from the other flavors. The sushi chefs were pretty generous with the crab salad when they were plating the roll, which definitely helped me to load it up when I was constructing each bite.

In the search for quality sushi in the Melbourne area, I was able to find a winner in Umami Restaurant and Sushi Bar. With a wide selection of signature rolls, eclectic flavor combinations, and reasonable prices, Umami checked all the boxes for what I was looking for when I set out on my sushi restaurant quest. Even though the restaurant might be tucked away in a sea of other storefronts in the shopping plaza, be sure not to miss it. I know I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to stop by and try some more sushi rolls.

Let’s now take a look at the Umami Restaurant & Sushi Bar Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** The Distinguished Gentleman — pictured left **
Maine lobster and avocado on the inside, layered with seared rare beef and jalapeño slices on top, finished with masago, truffle salt, and wasabi aioli

** The Boba Fett — pictured right **
California Roll wrapped with avocado and topped with crab salad, baked scallops, masago, and eel sauce


** The Bang Dang — pictured left and right **
Tempura coconut shrimp, mango, and cream cheese on the inside, topped with tuna, blue crab salad, and eel sauce

The Corona — pictured middle
Grilled shrimp, tempura asparagus, and cucumber inside, wrapped with avocado and topped with blue crab, pico de gallo, and cilantro


The Atkins
Tuna, salmon, white fish, yellowtail, and avocado, all wrapped with cucumber and served in a ponzu sauce


** The Godfather — pictured top and bottom **
Fried lobster tail with cream cheese and asparagus on the inside, topped with salmon, tuna, masago, and garnished with eel sauce

** The Trinity — pictured middle **
Salmon, tuna, and yellowtail on the inside, topped with avocado and sliced lemon, garnished with puffed rice cracker, cilantro, and yuzu tobiko


** The Cajun Salmon **
Spicy blue crab salad, avocado, and asparagus on the inside, topped with torched salmon, lemon dill aioli, and tobiko


And finally, here are my rankings for Umami Restaurant & Sushi Bar:

Food: 5 / 5

Diversity in flavors is key here, as there are quite a few signature rolls to choose from. Each roll I tried brought a different flavor combination to the table, while still maintaining a fresh taste from all the ingredients.

Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5

Our waitress was pleasant and checked back with us frequently during the course of the meal. The sushi chefs didn’t keep us waiting too long either, with all four rolls arriving expeditiously.

Service: 4.25 / 5

With the smaller seating capacity and dimmed lighting, the dining area does seem to give off a semi-intimate feel. Black dining furniture tie in well with the light-colored walls and decorations.

Price: 4.5 / 5

I thought the price points for the various rolls was pretty reasonable, especially given some of the more premium ingredients used. For the quality of the rolls that I got, I’d certainly pay those prices again.

18 / 20


ADDRESS: 1369 South Babcock Street, Melbourne, FL 32901

The very first time I had Mexican food, my dad took me and my brother to a place near our house called Juanito’s. It was there that I first experienced the chimichanga, a deep-fried burrito, and that dish served as my “litmus test” for other Mexican restaurants for quite some time. It wasn’t until early last year that my friends Mike and Tina opened my eyes to the magic of carnitas (cooked extra crispy) which then took on the mantle as my new Mexican restaurant test dish.

I’ve moved down here to Florida for roughly four months already, and I was starting to crave some authentic Mexican cooking. Sure, I had hit up the local Chipotle on a bi-weekly basis, but it just wasn’t cutting it, so I took a look around online to see what the local Mexican restaurant scene was like. El Indio popped up as a place that seemed favorable with local diners, and it also wasn’t too far a drive from work. So during one of our lunch breaks, my friend Rich and I decided to take a trip and check the place out.

Located in the Melbourne Shopping Center strip mall, El Indio is tucked away between the Boost Mobile store and a nail salon. The interior of the restaurant is very modest, with only a small number of pictures or ribbons hung up on the walls. Seating is a mix between tables and booths, and the place can probably accommodate around 50 people at the most. A waitress came out front from the kitchen to greet us, motioned for us to sit anywhere, and set down some menus. Rich must have been hungry, because when the waitress came back to ask what we wanted for food, he decided on the Burrito Supremo. It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking to order: a plate of carnitas, cooked extra crispy. Got to keep it consistent with my test dish!

The turnaround from the kitchen was extremely quick. Even though they had given us complimentary tortilla chips and salsa while we were waiting, I’d say our food came out in about 15 minutes or so. The waitress set down our plates of food, and I could already tell that these carnitas were definitely on point. A nice pile of good-sized chunks, the carnitas had the great balance of crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside. The plate also included three tortillas (I went with corn), which gave me an opportunity to build tacos using everything on the plate: carnitas, refried beans, rice, pico de gallo, guacamole, and some salsa verde. Talk about a great combination of savory and spicy flavors. Before I knew it, all the tortillas were gone, but I continued plowing through the rest of the carnitas on the plate, enjoying every bite. I could tell Rich enjoyed his food too, because he ended up finishing that giant burrito and refried beans before I got through my plate!

What started off as a search for Mexican food to fulfill a craving ended up leading to El Indio, and I’m certainly glad that it did. I think “low-key” is an appropriate adjective to use for the place, as the restaurant might not be readily apparent driving by on the roads. Even on the inside, the decorations might be more muted, but the food certainly speaks volumes. It’s packed with flavor and has that authentic home-cooked feel to it that I think just makes it taste better. I’m already salivating just thinking about that plate of carnitas again.

Let’s now take a look at the El Indio Mexican Restaurant Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.

** Carnitas (Extra Crispy) **
Chunks of slow-cooked pork, served with refried beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, rice, and tortillas.


** Burrito Supremo **
Burrito filled with rice and choice of beef or chicken, covered with sauce, melted cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. Refried beans served on the side.


And finally, here are my rankings for El Indio:

Food: 4.5 / 5

Hearty plates of food that have that home-cooked feel certainly make for a satisfying meal. Quite a few options to choose from between burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, or other dishes featuring chicken, pork, or steak.

Atmosphere: 4 / 5

El Indio prefers to keep the décor more toned down, with nothing really too crazy to make things feel too “busy.” Even with several other tables occupied, it never got too noisy in the dining area.

Service: 4.25 / 5

The kitchen was very expeditious about getting out the plates of food; our hungry selves were certainly not kept waiting for too long. Several waitresses also came back to make sure that we had everything we needed during the meal.

Price: 4.25 / 5

Given the amount of food that each plate comes with, I think the pricing is set at a pretty fair rate. I could probably make two meals out of just one order of food!

17 / 20

El Indio Mexican Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


ADDRESS: 250 N. State Road 7, Suite #100, Royal Palm Beach, FL 33414

A few weekends ago, I was on the phone with my parents when the conversation took an interesting turn. “Did you know that your uncle Alex just bought a house in Florida?” Well, that was certainly a surprise. “It’s actually two hours south of where you live!” As it turns out, my uncle had closed on a house in the West Palm Beach area and asked if I would be up for visiting over the weekend. My cousin Stanley was also going to be flying into the area to see the new house, so he was certainly surprised to see me when my uncle and I rolled up to the airport’s arrivals area. It turned out to be a very nice and relaxing weekend that I could catch up with some family members I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

Stanley had been eating as a vegetarian for a little while, so when we were trying to look for a place to eat that night as we left the airport, we narrowed down the search a bit. Perusing through Yelp, we stumbled across Bolay, a place with some positive reviews and tasty-looking food photos. After a little bit of discussion, we decided to give it a shot, and ended up stumbling across a restaurant that far exceeded our expectations.

The main focus of each order was on the bowl (restaurant stylized as “bol”), where you can customize all the different ingredients that go into your meal. Two large boards were mounted on the high side of the wall next to the counter and caught our eye as we were walking up. One gave you a small tutorial about how to construct your order and the other detailed the vast array of options available to choose from. I certainly got vibes of the Chipotle “fast-casual” concept, where you’d progress down the counter as the restaurant staff helped you craft the perfect bowl of food.

Indecisive people, beware: you might want to take a look at the menu before heading out to the restaurant to narrow down what you want to get. I don’t normally consider myself an indecisive person, and I think I still spent five minutes standing up in front of the menu board, contemplating what to get.

There are five lists to progress through during the course of constructing your meal: bases, veggies, proteins, toppings, and sauces. All three of us ended up going for the “large bol,” which gave us the option of getting two bases, two veggies, two proteins, unlimited toppings, and one sauce. Get ready, because here comes the long, run-on sentence of my Bolay order: Peruvian quinoa and Moroccan basmati rice, topped with smoky cauliflower, balsamic mushrooms, Caribbean-spiced steak, and BBQ chicken, garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and spicy Thai peanut sauce. (That’s the same description I’ll be using in my Dish Spotlight, don’t you worry.) With eight major components stacked up in my bowl, I was certainly very anxious to give it the first bite.

Have you ever had a bite of food that took you aback by just how unexpectedly delicious it was? Well, this was one of those moments for me. All of the flavors just complemented each other so well that I kept diving into the bowl, excited for the next bite. The rice, quinoa, and mushrooms brought a great earthy element to the dish, while the cauliflower brought some light, smoky notes. The steak was cooked just how I liked it (medium-rare to medium), with some light Caribbean jerk seasoning that gave it a bit of punch. The chicken was grilled well, moist, and really locked in a lot of that BBQ flavor (probably from a marinade). The cilantro mixed with the spicy Thai sauce rounded out the whole bowl with a savory kick, coupled with some subtle peanut flavors. I tell you, it was so good that I probably could have devoured a whole second bowl with no effort at all.

What started as a search for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant ended up being one of the more flavorful meals that I’ve had in a little while. Even as the fast-casual restaurant concept is starting to get adopted more and more these days, Bolay does a great job of keeping things fresh by bringing out the best of the ingredients they use. All the flavors inside my food complimented each other seamlessly for a really complete and satisfying meal. Although I’m a little sad inside that there are no Bolay locations closer to Melbourne, I am certainly looking forward to my next opportunity at stopping in for some delicious food.

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

** Caribbean Spiced Steak & BBQ Chicken Large Bowl **
Peruvian quinoa and Moroccan basmati rice, topped with smoky cauliflower, balsamic mushrooms, Caribbean-spiced steak, and BBQ chicken, garnished with freshly chopped cilantro and spicy Thai peanut sauce.


And finally, here are my rankings for Bolay:

Food: 5 / 5

Bolay’s food certainly epitomizes the “fresh” and “bold” characteristics from its restaurant slogan. With such an eclectic array of options on the menu, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a combination you don’t like. I could eat here every day and be a happy camper.

Atmosphere: 4 / 5

The dining area of the place was a pretty good size, with a combination of tables and booths. Ample lighting provided a nice, bright environment, which are aided by the full-sized glass windows that comprise of the front of the restaurant. The open kitchen in the back also allowed for aromas from the grill to drift around the dining area.

Service: 4.5 / 5

The restaurant staff was very accommodating to our first time being at the restaurant and happily answered any questions we had as we were pondering what to get. Even after we finished our bowls and lingered at the table chatting,  a staff member came by the table and asked if she could help dispose of our finished containers.

Price: 5 / 5

I really think that both the hearty amount of food coupled with the diverse flavor profiles that you could customize together offers a real bang for your buck. A large bowl normally runs you $10, but since I had upgraded to a “premium protein” (the Caribbean spiced steak), that added an extra $2. Absolutely did not regret that decision one bit.

18.5 / 20

Bolay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


ADDRESS: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Orlando, FL 32830

'Ohana, Photo 1

When my family talks about our Millenium New Year’s celebration trip down to Disney World, a topic that comes up frequently is our experience eating at ‘Ohana. Meaning “family” in Hawaiian, ‘Ohana had been only open for about five years prior to our first visit. Since then, it has exploded in popularity, with eager diners recommended to make reservations close to six months in advance. It only took 17 years, but I finally made it back to the place that gave me such a strong childhood memory.

The restaurant is set up as an “all-you-can-eat” buffet, where the waitstaff brings the food out to your table. An endless supply of grilled meats, stir-fried noodles, chicken wings, and potstickers is certainly enough to keep anyone happy. Within the past year, I’ve managed to return to the restaurant twice: the first time with my friends and the second time with my family. Both times I was lucky enough to score a reservation when booking within two months of the trip. All it took was just the persistent checking of the ‘Ohana restaurant website, ample use of the refresh button on my web browser, and just a little bit of luck.

‘Ohana is tucked away inside Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Follow the signs when you’re driving on the Disney grounds and you’ll arrive at the resort gates. Mention to the guard that you have a dining reservation and they’ll wave you through, no parking fee required. Once you’ve checked in with the host stand, there are plenty of chairs scattered around the 1st and 2nd floors to lounge around while you’re waiting. You could even pick up a drink from the restaurant’s bar, hit up the adjacent coffee bar, or peruse the gift shop downstairs as well. Once that pager starts to light up though, it’s time to begin the culinary experience.

The dining area is pretty massive, with a large number of tables underneath this open skylight area tucked away further in the restaurant. Right at the center of the dining area is a large, open grill station, where the chefs are cooking up delicious skewers of chicken, steak, and shrimp. If you prefer dining with a view, there’s also tables set up right next to the windows that look out to the lagoon, where on the other side is Disney’s Magic Kingdom. If you have a later dinner reservation, see if you can get a window seat to be able to check out the nightly fireworks show.

We got started off with a small loaf of fresh-baked Hawaiian bread once we sat down at the table, a nice way to help qualm some of the appetite that built up while smelling the food from the waiting area. Our waiter, Chris, swung by not too long afterwards, asking about our drink orders. Since the whole menu is pre-set, there was no need to order anything. Chris soon returned with a nice, heaping bowl of salad greens and our drinks. Not too long after that, he came back with the second round of food, dubbed the “kitchen platter.”

Stir-fried noodles and vegetables, crispy potstickers, and honey-garlic chicken wings made for a great set of appetizers to start off the meal. Everything had a light sweet flavor to it, with the potstickers probably being my favorite of the three. They were a great balance of sweet and savory flavors, and fried just enough for that crispy texture. The chicken wings were a close second, with the meat very tender and containing a subtle sweet flavor, that I suspect from maybe a marinade in that same honey-garlic sauce that it’s tossed in. And even after all this, we hadn’t arrived at the main course yet.

All of the meats are fresh off the grill when the waitstaff walk around the restaurant with the giant skewers loaded up with chicken, steak, or shrimp. “How many pieces do you want?” I might get 3, 4, or even 5 if I’m feeling adventurous. I’ve never really been too big into eating shrimp, so I definitely loaded it up on the chicken and steak instead. For the chicken, it’s got just enough char on the outside and stays moist on the inside, a really tough balance that was well executed when cooking it on the grill. The meat has that familiar subtle sweet flavor, most likely from a nice, extended marinade as well. I thought the steak was also cooked really well, with each piece ranging from medium-rare to medium. Those pieces also had a nice char on the outside with an assortment of aromatic flavors brought out by a blend of herb seasonings.

After three rounds of meats, two kitchen platters, salad, and a loaf of Hawaiian bread, I thought that our table had already eaten enough to suffice for two or three meals. But that’s when our waiter Chris drops the dessert bomb: bread pudding à la mode, with a warm banana caramel sauce drizzle over the top. Now that’s something you just don’t say no to. I really enjoy when there’s a temperature difference that comes into play for desserts, and à la mode is a textbook example of this. The warm bread pudding and caramel sauce contrasted great with the scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. In terms of overall taste, I thought that the bread pudding was pretty average with other ones I’ve had before. It doesn’t really “wow” you, but still leaves you feeling satisfied.

There are some studies that say that your senses of smell and taste can be the strongest connections to memories, and for ‘Ohana, that was certainly the case. Eating the food again really brought back some childhood memories, and I’m glad that the quality has stayed consistent, even after all these years! If you’re planning a visit to the Orlando area, be sure not to miss out on a meal at ‘Ohana. There’s certainly a reason that this place books up on reservations so far in advance.

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

'Ohana, Photo 2** Stir-Fried Noodles with Vegetables **
Flour noodles stir-fried with a honey sauce, accompanied by broccoli, red onions, and red peppers.

** Crispy Potstickers **
Pork and vegetable potstickers fried to a nice golden brown.

** Honey-Garlic Chicken Wings **
Chicken wings tossed in a honey-garlic sauce, with a garnish of black and white sesame seeds.


'Ohana, Photo 3** Grilled Chicken **
Tender, moist pieces of marinated chicken, grilled just enough to give an outside char.


'Ohana, Photo 4** Grilled Steak **
Cubes of steak grilled to medium-rare / medium, seasoned with an aromatic herb blend while grilling for flavor.


'Ohana, Photo 5** Bread Pudding **
‘Ohana’s signature bread pudding, served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a warm banana caramel drizzle on top.


And finally, here are my rankings for ‘Ohana:

Food: 5 / 5

Even with a pre-set menu, ‘Ohana still manages to keep some variety between the food items. The selection certainly leans towards the carnivore crowd, and the flavors on everything are just fantastic.

Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5

The smells alone coming from the open grill are certainly enough to make you hungry (especially if you’ve been saving room all day for the meal). There is usually also someone walking around the dining area and singing while playing the ukulele. I thought that was a pretty nice touch to add to the dining experience.

Service: 5 / 5

The waitstaff during both of my recent visits were stellar. They were very friendly and would make frequent rounds back to the table to make sure that we were being well fed!

Price: 4.75 / 5

It’s definitely a steeper price tag to dine in ‘Ohana (particularly for dinner). The meal ran us $45 / person, but for the overall experience, I think it’s money well spent.

19.5 / 20

'Ohana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


ADDRESS: 8031 Turkey Lake Road, Suite #700, Orlando, FL 32819

Seito Sushi, Photo 1

It’s hard to imagine that it’s already been half a year since the last time I made a post here. During that hiatus, I switched jobs and have now moved down to central Florida, where I can certainly say I’ve been enjoying the escape from the grips of winter up north. Come July timeframe, though, I’ll let you know how I’m enjoying that sweltering summer heat.

Two weekends ago, my parents and brother flew into Orlando so we could spend time together for Chinese New Year. We’d had some previous success during our Hawaii trip trying local restaurants during our vacation, so we decided to do the same during this trip too. We had already planned on eating American and Polynesian food, so we looked around the area for another cuisine my family loves to enjoy: Japanese.

Our search brought us to Seito Sushi, which had positive reviews online as well as photos of beautifully plated specialty rolls. The restaurant’s location was actually a great fit for our schedule that evening, since we were planning on attending a Blue Man Group show in Universal CityWalk later that evening. Located inside the same shopping plaza as Whole Foods and several other restaurants, Seito Sushi was only two quick turns from the Turkey Lake Road plaza entrance before we were parked in front of the place.

When we first walked in, I found myself really impressed with the décor. The primary color of choice was black, accentuated with just the right amount of glass and mirrors around different areas of the restaurant. The slightly dimmer lighting also helped to give the dining room that sleek, modern feel it was going for.

We got seated near the bar of the restaurant, with their backlit shelves displaying the wide variety of alcohol available. A table right next to the large window also meant that afforded us a nice view out the front of the restaurant. Our waitress came over to our table not too long after we were seated to take down our drink orders.

The menu encompassed a wide variety of Japanese fare, giving you plenty of choices depending on your mood. Nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls dominated most of the selection, but if you aren’t into raw fish, there is also the noodles option as well: yakisoba, udon, or ramen. But I think that I was most impressed with the variety offered by their signature rolls, each description setting itself apart from the one above it. Reading that list had me trying to piece together the flavors in my head, sparking my culinary curiosity.

We decided to open the meal with an appetizer of the Korean Fried Chicken Wings, crispy jumbo wings that were tossed in a spicy chili sauce. The presentation was fantastic, with the wings neatly arranged at the center of the plate and garnished with black & white sesame seeds and chopped scallions. After taking a bite though, I thought the chicken was only okay. I’m not sure if it was that the wings weren’t fried enough or they used too much sauce to toss them in, but the end result was that the texture was a bit soggy. The chili sauce did, however, give the chicken some nice flavor complexion. It was my hope that the upcoming sushi rolls would make more of an impression than the wings did.

It wasn’t too long after the chicken wings that our main course arrived. All four rolls that we ordered were plated out on a large rectangular dish, arranged creatively with the garnishes on top. We all enthusiastically dug in, each person sampling a different roll. I started off with the Distinguished Gentleman, which promised a rich collection of flavors with lobster, masago, and steak tataki finished off with a wasabi aioli. Unfortunately, the wasabi flavor was very potent, overpowering almost everything else in the roll. I got a bit of the steak flavor and a hint of heat from the jalapeño, but didn’t taste the lobster or masago. From all the food pictures that I had looked through online, I was looking forward to the Distinguished Gentleman the most. Unfortunately, that roll missed the mark a little bit for me.

Some of the other rolls fared a little better, but not by much. The Beauty and the Beast (shrimp tempura with cream cheese and cucumber, topped with spicy tuna, avocado, and eel) had a good set of flavors, but just needed one more savory element to tie everything together. The Godzilla (shrimp tempura, soft shell crab, spicy crab, with asparagus tempura) had good texture and flavor with the inclusion of the honey-citrus sauce and was overall pretty good. The Calypso, however, was definitely an interesting and unexpected flavor combination for me.

I’m not really sure why I dislike an overly sweet or tangy flavor in my sushi. It’s for this reason that I don’t enjoy rolls that have mango in them; I’ve always just stuck with spicy or savory flavors. But the Calypso had that tropical relish garnish that I just couldn’t get past. For me, it just gave the roll a really strange sweet aftertaste that I didn’t find enjoyable. Replace that relish with a spicy mayo drizzle and I think that would have been a great combination.

Anticipation was high for the restaurant going into this meal. The photos of the food looked great and the reviews were solid. But while the overall experience wasn’t bad, it wasn’t as good as the food photos made it out to be either. Maybe reading the menu descriptions of the rolls set my expectations too high. Or maybe the roll selection that we got wasn’t the best combination to introduce us to what Seito Sushi had to offer. Either way, it was a meal that fulfilled our hunger, but not our hopes of finding a stellar sushi restaurant in the Orlando area.

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

Seito Sushi, Photo 2Korean Fried Chicken Wings
Crispy jumbo wings tossed in a Gochujang chili sauce.


Seito Sushi, Photo 3The Distinguished Gentleman — pictured left
Maine lobster meat with masago, scallions, and avocado, wrapped with Wagyu steak tataki and garnished with fresh jalapeño slices, wasabi aioli, and truffle salt.

The Calypso — pictured middle
Citrus-baked salmon with cucumber, masago, scallions, and togarashi, topped with avocado, steamed shrimp, and a tropical relish.

** The Beauty and the Beast — pictured right **
Shrimp tempura with cream cheese and cucumber, topped with eel, spicy tuna, and avocado, garnished with eel sauce and spicy mayo.

** The Godzilla — pictured top & bottom **
Shrimp tempura with soft shell crab, spicy crab, and asparagus tempura, garnished with tempura flakes and a honey-citrus sauce.


And finally, here are my rankings for Seito Sushi:

Food: 3.5 / 5

I appreciated the creative effort into coming up with the variety of specialty rolls. Each one sounded like it would bring a different flavor profile than the next. The end result, however, fell just a little bit short.

Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5

I was a really big fan of the sleek, modern feel of the restaurant’s décor, with a dark color theme and dimmed lighting. A cool visual focal point in the dining area was the towering display of wine bottles, arranged in a “wine cellar” lattice rack style.

Service: 4 / 5

Our waitress was friendly and stopped by our table periodically during the meal to check how we were doing. The food also didn’t take very long before arriving at the table as well.

Price: 4.5 / 5

I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable many of the prices on the menu were, especially the specialty rolls. Being outside a major tourist destination like Orlando, the restaurant could have jacked up prices a little bit. I can certainly respect them for not doing so.

16.75 / 20

Seito Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rainforest Cafe, Photo 1

The first time I visited a Rainforest Café was in 3rd grade during a field trip to the local science center. I’m sure the restaurant staff was happy to see a group of 60 highly energetic eight-year-olds walk in to eat. With the extensive rainforest décor, moving animals, and simulated “thunderstorm” where the lights would dim in and out and the animals would “freak out,” it was probably the coolest restaurant that I had eaten at up to that point as an eight-year-old kid. There was, however, a very significant food discovery that I made that day: the magic of waffle fries.

At the ripe old age of eight years old, I only knew French fries in the shoestring variety you’d get from fast food restaurants. But the discovery of waffle fries changed the game. I could ask my parents, but I probably went home that night after the field trip raving about the waffle fries and started asking for them at any other restaurant we ate at for a while. Extra potato, extra crunch, and when salted just right, what’s not to like?

I must have convinced my parents pretty well about checking out the restaurant, because after that we went to that same Rainforest Café in NJ, two in the Orlando, FL area, and one in Niagara Falls. And you can bet that at every single one I kept asking for waffle fries with my meal. But since my family ate at the Niagara Falls location (which I found out also happens to be the only location in all of Canada) back in 2003, I haven’t been back… until two weekends ago.

I took a roadtrip up to Niagara Falls with my two high school friends Bryan and Katie, and after a day of hanging out in the area, we were trying to figure out a spot within walking distance to get some food to eat. I jokingly mentioned that Rainforest Café was right down the road, and when Katie said she had never been to a Rainforest Café before, our dinner decision made itself for us.

It was certainly nostalgic walking in and seeing the same rainforest décor and moving animals that I remembered from all those years ago. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m more perceptive now that I’m older, but there were a lot more moving animals in the walls and ceiling than I remember. Next to our table, a gorilla was poking its head out of the leaves and stared at us during the meal (creeper status). We also discovered a leopard chilling out in a tree, and as we were examining it, its head swiveled to look right at us. Surprise! There was also an abundance of the waitstaff yelling “VOLCANO” practically every five minutes as they came out of the kitchen with the Sparkling Volcano Cake, Rainforest Café’s signature dessert of chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel loaded on top, and chocolate “lava” gushing out from the opening in the cake mound. It looked so good, but even with three people, we probably wouldn’t have even been able to make a dent in it (I’ve read it feeds up to six people).

It was fun to re-visit the restaurant chain after so many years away and see that things haven’t really changed from what I remember growing up. Rainforest Café, I have you to thank for being the place to cultivate my obsession with waffle fries that’s lasted so many years.