Got your attention – didn’t I?
When I first heard about this concept – all-you-can-eat sushi – in a buffet setting, my mind immediately conjured up a basic buffet place that puts out some “basic rolls” on a schedule only they understand.
The reality of Mikado Japanese Seafood Buffet is very different. From the moment you walk in, you are greeted with that special Asian-inspired care that so wishes to please. As to the restaurant, the most immediate – and happy – surprise is the décor, the lighting, and the ambiance. Top that off with cleanliness and the feel of the place is anything but buffet.
In other words, it’s stylish enough for a date or special occasion but casual enough and priced (lunch is $12.95) as a terrific place for lunch with fellow workers. Major kudos go to the sushi chefs for the presentation of the food – especially the sushi, nigiri, and sashimi.
And while I will concentrate on the sushi, it’s important to know that guests may begin with an abundant cold entrees and a salad bar. In addition to traditional salad items, the cold offerings include peeled shrimp, mussels, oysters on the half-shell, a very rich tasting and beautifully marbled Tuna and Salmon Tataki, Tuna Kobachi (highly seasoned chunks of Tuna) in a “salad” format, noodles of all kinds, seaweed salad (wonderful), cold edamame, and ceviche. All of this is beautifully presented – and all you can eat.
Mikado Japanese Seafood Buffet is at 851 S. State Road 434 in Altamonte Springs. Lunch hours are Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday noon to 3:30 p.m. Dinner is served Monday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 9:30 p.m. Visit mikadosushiorlando.com or call 407-730-8987 for more information.
For those who want something hot, there are stations for made to order noodle soups including five kinds of noodles, four soup broths and various proteins to add so your soup truly is “made to order.” The made to order hibachi grill has even more choices to combine with a variety of vegetables and chopped steak, shrimp, or chicken for protein – before all the cutting, clanging, and tossing begins. I must mention, too, that crab legs are offered at the evening meals; there are some who come simply for the all-you-can-eat crab legs
With such abundance, I assumed that some of this presentation had to arrive at the restaurant frozen. Never assume. The manager actually looked a little hurt when I asked which of the fish arrived frozen, and I was assured that all the fish was fresh – some local and some flown in, but most assuredly fresh. I was even given a look at how large tunas are expertly sliced and which parts of the tuna are associated with sashimi, nigiri, and tataki. With the demonstration it was explained, for example, how the belly of the tuna is the most marbled and is used for sashimi (served in plain raw chunks, with no sticky rice) as opposed to the tataki, which is seared quickly on a very hot grill and then immediately removed so that only the edges are “cooked.”
But it’s the beautiful range of choices on the sushi buffet that calls up words like quality, excellence, and originality. Remembering that all the fish is fresh, I counted 30 different kinds of sushi, beautifully presented and offered for the evening price of $21.95 ($23.95 on Friday and Saturday evenings). I kept thinking – even if you try one of each — what an evening! Plus you can be creative and “dress your plate” with pickled ginger, pickled cucumber, bamboo shoots, and Asian sauces and condiments.
Needless to say, the joy of a sushi buffet is exactly that – the ability to try new things, and I made a good dent in those 30 offerings. My personal favorites ran to the extremes of the Escolar (white tuna) sashimi to the very complex Flying Tiger Roll and its close relation the Volcano Roll. The Flying Tiger is made of spicy tuna, avocado, soybean paper, spicy crabmeat and sriracha sauce. The Ocean Roll was distinguished with red and black caviar while the Mikado Signature Roll features eel, soybean paper and spicy mayo.
The crunchy Thai Roll includes tempura vegetables, crunchy crab and salmon while the Crazy Tuna Roll was ultra tasty with spicy tuna dusted with chili peppers. Some of my other favorites were the Godzilla Roll, the Lion King Roll, and the Firecracker Roll – named in a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the theme parks.
Bottom line – I was in new sushi taste heaven. The fish is fresh and the flavors and creativity are first rate. This is one buffet restaurant you can treat friends, family – and even your boss – with your head held high. And I’m betting – so long as they love sushi – they’ll thank you for introducing them to such a unique, bountiful, and fun place to eat.