Audubon Park is a great place for foodies to find the culinary diversity – and quality – that makes Central Florida such a great place to live. I had a late lunch at Sushi Lola’s, and can’t wait to introduce it to you.
Sushi Lola’s sits humbly in a small strip mall where its most defining feature is the line waiting for tables on most evenings of the week. But please don’t let that deter you from finding your taste of Oriental heaven here. The wait-staff is happy and charming, and determined to have food in front of you in a timely manner. Besides, you can use that time looking over the menu.
One visit cannot begin to make a dent in their more-than-you-can-hope-for Japanese and Korean menu. That means, along with the innovative sushi rolls that the restaurant’s name implies, the menu offers a spicier Korean-influenced take on nigiri and sashimi, sushi combos, bento boxes, tempura dinners, noodle dishes, and Korean specialties – and that doesn’t even list all of the varied offerings available.
Sushi Lola’s is the personal dream of owner/manager Aaron Pak, whose background is Korean and who started a restaurant for the best of all possible reasons – because he likes food. The menu is also heavily influenced by his mother’s recipes. Fortunately for us, Aaron’s mother is there in the kitchen most days overseeing her legacy.
Sushi Lola’s is open for lunch and dinner from Monday through Saturday. It’s located at 2806 Corrine Drive in Audubon Park. Call 407-898-5652 or visit sushilolas.com
Warned that it is spicy, (my fearless taste buds are never scared off by spicy), I started with the Tuna Kobachi – a fantastic serving of chunks of raw tuna in a spicy sauce served over beautifully sliced cucumbers and radish sprouts. This is healthy food, and I highly recommend it. I savored every tasty bite of that wonderful tuna.
Then I tried the Jalapeno Bomber, a serving of which is several jalapeno peppers filled with crab salad, all of which is then breaded and deep-fried. It’s a sensuous mix of the spiciness of the jalapeno with the sweetness of the crab filling, and once again, I found myself savoring each bite.
I love when a restaurateur brings in family recipes, so I ordered his mother’s Bulgogi Bee Beem Bab. Don’t ask me what that means, but it’s a wonderful combination of the traditional harmony of five flavors, which serve as the basis for much Korean cooking. Those five flavors are sweet, salty, bitter, sour and (the untranslatable) umami. It’s a wonderful rice dish served (very hot) in a stone bowl along with representative taste treats from the five flavors. And because I was there to taste several dishes, I took a lot of this one home with me … and it was still delicious for lunch the next day. It’s somewhat exotic in that the serving is so hot (I know – waiters say that all the time, but this one really is) that an egg is cooked on top of the whole mixture as it is placed in front of you. Then you get to mix in as many of the side ‘tastes’ that come with this magical concoction. Note: you are offered a side of “Korean sauce” with this dish. Go ahead – mix all that good sauce into the bowl.
There are so many fun names of the sushi rolls at Sushi Lola’s – some of my favorite (names) are the Crazy Japanese Roll, the Snow White Roll, and the Dirty Old Man Roll, but for tasting I had to try the Playboy Roll. It’s called Playboy, because it’s the most “extravagant” of the rolls including shrimp, crab and tuna topped with both red and black caviar and tiny little round rice crackers that – as far as I can tell – are there to simply add texture to this dream mixture.
I recommend every dish I just wrote about, and I wish I had tried more dishes to recommend, but that is the fun of a place like Sushi Lola’s. Even with favorites, you’ll never run out of something new to try.