El Buda Latin Asian Restaurant

Exterior

Interior

Interior

Smoked salmon poke with pineapple

Teriyaki tots

Pork sweet plantain dumplings

Scallion pancake quesadilla

Chimichanga eggroll

Edamame frito

Ropa Viejo Bibimbap a Gaballo

***** (5 stars)

Many restaurants call themselves “fusion” cuisine when all they’re really doing is serving two different cuisines. So I was delighted to discover that El Buda is serving a true blending of Latin and Asian cuisines, and some of the most creative food in Central Florida.

We tried a broad range of their small plates, and the combination of flavors in each was superb. I particularly liked the eggroll and the quesadilla. The only slight disappointment was I thought the ropa vieja was too salty.

Service was friendly but obviously inexperienced. This didn’t interfere with our enjoyment of the meal, though. It was great to find someplace still fully staffed and serving great food late on a Sunday night after a show.

This space has been many, many restaurants, probably because it doesn’t open directly onto Church Street, but instead faces the railroad tracks. This is by far the best restaurant that’s been here, and I hope it prospers, as it truly is among the most creative in Orlando.

El Buda Latin Asian Restaurant
116 W Church St
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 203-8171
https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-buda-latin-asian-restaurant-orlando

Yamashiro Hollywood

Samurai roll

Truffle hamachi

Scallop ceviche

Yellowtail and Serrano pepper sashimi

Courtyard

View

Entry

*** (3 stars)

Yamashiro is one of the neatest, most magical spaces in LA. I’ve been coming here for decades for the spectacular view, and the tranquil Japanese courtyard in the center of the building. On each visit, I am amazed at what a great spot it is, and equally amazed that the food never lives up to the promise of the location.

On this visit they were out of: sparkling water, 9 out of ten types of sparkling wine on their wine list, one type of chicken, and Kirin beer. I was beginning to suspect we’d wandered into Monty Python’s cheese shop.

But they did have (nearly) all of the fish on their sashimi menu, and we tried most of them. They were all fine–okay fish quality, and good sauces. Maybe it’s just that we’d been to Sugarfish for lunch the day before, but this sushi was not remarkable, just serviceable.

Our waitress was nice, although totally unfamiliar with the wine list, and seemed a bit shaky on the food, too. Maybe the focus of the business is on selling the fishbowl-sized fruit drinks; they were certainly doing a lot of that.

Still, I’ll no doubt go back. I always do. There’s no place quite like it.

Yamashiro Hollywood
1999 N Sycamore Ave
Hollywood, CA 90068
(323) 466-5125
https://www.yelp.com/biz/yamashiro-hollywood-hollywood

Akina

Sashimi Bento

Alakan Roll, Poki Roll, Ikura

Roti with red curry

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a very upscale restaurant for a strip mall type location. Great decor, and an extensive pan-Asian menu including Sushi, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and even Indian cuisines.

We started with an order of Roti with curry sauce, because what other sushi restaurant has that?! It was excellent, with perfectly fresh roti. The sauce was so good I saved it to put on my rice.

I had the lunch sashimi bento box, which included seven nice pieces of fish, seaweed salad and lettuce salad, rice, and a very large bowl of miso soup. The miso was a bit sweeter than normal, but everything else was great.

We also had two rolls and some ikura sashimi. All were good.

Pricing might be a bit high for the area, but I thought it was worth it. Service was exceptional. I’ve never had a soft drink refilled so many times!

Akina
4300 S Hwy 27
Clermont, FL 34711
(352) 243-8988
http://www.yelp.com/biz/akina-clermont

Sushi Kichi

Spicy salmon and Philly Lynch rolls

Sashimi lunch plate

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a pleasant strip mall sushi restaurant that offers a good price for a variety of combo lunches. The sushi or sashimi samplers are good choices, or you can select two rolls. All come with soup and salad, and there are three choices of dressing.

The kitchen also offers hot lunch combos. All run from $10 to $12.

The dinner menu offers more selections.

The fish was fresh, and service was attentive.

Sushi Kichi
5368 Central Florida Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32821
(407) 778-1953
https://www.yelp.com/biz/sushi-kichi-orlando

Soupa Saiyan

Line

Chicken wings

Beef broth, ramen, brisket, veggies, lime, basil

Exterior

Interior

Menu

**** (4 stars)

This is a true Asian noodle place, common in big cities like Chicago, but fairly rare in Orlando. It’s a quick-serve operation where you order at a counter and they bring it to you–assuming you can find a seat. The place is very popular, and a line forms within minutes of opening.

The menu is extremely clear, enabling you to build your dish step by step. You start with a broth flavor, select a noodle type, and then two ingredients. I had beef broth with ramen noodles, beef brisket and mixed vegetables. The serving was really huge. The basic flavors are fairly subtle, so I was happy I’d asked for lime and basil as fresh accompaniments. These came in a separate bowl, and were generous helpings.

I also tried the chicken wings, which were simple fried wings and legs served with duck sauce packets.

Service was fast and friendly, but be sure to arrive early if you want to eat there.

Soupa Saiyan
5689 Vineland Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-3396
https://www.yelp.com/biz/soupa-saiyan-orlando-2

Rasa Asian Street Food

Wings with five spice and Thai chili sauce

Mee Goreng

Papaya salad

Roti canai

Dim sum

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

Southwest Orlando can use an Asian street food restaurant, as the others are all in the Mills District. Rasa is off to a good start. While there was no absolute home run in the dishes we tried, they were all within striking range of those other places.

The menu offers a nice assortment of noodle, rice and curry dishes. It’s weak on salads, and the one we tried was far too spicy with no warning at all on the menu.

Dim Sum was four pieces of sauteed potstickers. I would have liked a bit more sear on them, but they were delicious.

Mee Goreng was quite good, with lots of shrimp and chicken mixed into a Pad-Thai-like noodle base. It was just a little more like Pad Thai than a true Mee Goreng.

Chicken wings are available simply fried (naked) or breaded, and you can select two sauces from the seven offered. We liked the five spice the best.

Roti Canai was perhaps the most on target of everything we tried. The yellow curry was rich and flavorful, but the roti is greasier than elsewhere.

Tea service needs a bit of work. I’m always a bit put off by Asian restaurants where the green tea is a tea bag, and the pot holds barely one cup.

Service was friendly and well-intentioned; it just felt like it needs a few weeks to settle in, as especially the food runners seemed a bit out of their element.

Prices are reasonable.

In all, this is a promising start, and we will certainly go back.

Rasa Asian Street Food
7730 W Sand Lake Rd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-0402
https://www.yelp.com/biz/rasa-asian-street-food-orlando-3

Jade Sushi & New Asian

KFC

Lan-sanity

Stormtrooper

Hamachi truffle

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is an attractive restaurant with a nice, open, modern decor. They offer a lot of creative sushi and sashimi preparations, plus a variety of hot dishes including Korean, Chinese and others. So it’s not really fusion, but it does offer a nice variety.

Service can get backed up, but our waitress was friendly, and the sushi was good. My favorite was the hamachi truffle, which was barely seared, and had some delicious crispy bits of garlic on it.

Jade Sushi & New Asian
2425 Edgewater Dr
Orlando, FL 32804
(407) 422-7968
https://www.yelp.com/biz/jade-sushi-and-new-asian-orlando

Bamboo Asian Cuisine

Pork lo mein with fried rice and egg roll

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This isn’t a fusion restaurant (which would blend cuisines in one dish) but they do offer Chinese and some other Asian cuisines, particularly sushi.

I liked the three items I had at lunch: a particularly savory pork lo mein, a very interesting flavored egg roll and fluffy fried rice. Service was fast, perhaps due to the fact I was alone.

The place is bright and clean.

Bamboo Asian Cuisine
1567 E Silver Star Rd
Ocoee, FL 34761
(407) 291-0100
https://www.yelp.com/biz/bamboo-asian-cuisine-ocoee

India House Restaurant

*** (3 stars)

This is a very nicely decorated restaurant with about 150 different dishes on the menu. Unfortunately the staff isn’t very good, and the food is just average.

It’s odd browsing through the menu, because it seems to have little organization with multiple sections devoted the similar categories, and very few of the standbys like korma, saag, and so on.

We tried Papdi Chat as an appetizer, and the flavors were good, but it wasn’t enhanced by the sturdy wafers mixed into it.

Mahi Mahi Fish Tikka was good fish, but the seasoning on the fish skin wasn’t my favorite flavor.

Bhuni Gobi was extremely overcooked cauliflower; it resembled something that had been sitting on a buffet for hours.

The best dish was Channa Palak, chick peas in a garlic, onion and spinach sauce. Garlic naan bread was also okay.

The service staff seems to be mostly Russian, and wasn’t strong on communication. They were out of all the juices, and couldn’t produce a beer list.

There aren’t many Indian restaurants in River North, but even so, I wouldn’t bother to return here.

India House Restaurant
59 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 645-9500
http://www.yelp.com/biz/india-house-restaurant-chicago-2

Seoul Taco

***** (5 stars)

If there’s any cheaper way to have a tasty meal in River North, I haven’t found it.

The Tacos make up in spiciness what they lack in size. The tortillas are cooked to order, so everything is hot and fresh.

The other entrees are larger, but I thought the taco was just right. And I added (for just two bucks) the kimchi fried rice, which is almost a meal in itself.  

For less than $5 I left stuffed.

Seoul Taco
738 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 265-1607
http://www.yelp.com/biz/seoul-taco-chicago-2