In bustling downtown Winter Park, restaurants dominate the scene.
On every corner sits a variety of good places to eat, and the folks at the Oviedo-based Sushi Pop want in on the action.
“Winter Park is kind of like a ‘bougie’ area — especially Park Avenue,” said Anu Nanda, the restaurant’s general manager. “Our food isn’t inexpensive — you get what it’s worth, we don’t overcharge — but at the end of the day, if someone is nickel and diming, they’re not really going to choose a place like us.
“Winter Park is the best location to build up on and then who knows what’s in the future with us,” she said. “We definitely want to keep growing, and if Winter Park goes off with a bang, that’s kind of our moneymaker or breaker.”
Although the new location, to be located at the site of the former Boi Brazil steakhouse at 115 E. Lyman Ave., is currently under construction and will not be open until sometime toward the end of August or in early fall, Nanda and executive chef/owner Chau Trinh are ready to get things going.
Sushi Pop will be bringing its Japanese fusion style to Winter Park with its first expansion.
“Having (built) a really awesome following, a lot of people start asking because people travel really, really far — I come from Lake Nona,” Nanda said. “Locals are attracted to it, because everything is imported, made from scratch and nothing comes in frozen. All those little things that you don’t find very often in Orlando, because there are so many corporate chains.”
The restaurant’s leaders take pride in the ingredients used by Sushi Pop and said the freshness of imported fish and locally grown produce add to the full and delicious flavor of their dishes.
And based on the dishes that Sushi Pop serves in Oviedo, they will have a little something for every visitor — starting with their soups and green plates including Sunomono, Miso and Pop Salad.
From there, the restaurant offers up “cold” and “hot” tastings that includes several meats.
In the cold tastings, Sushi Pop includes dishes such as Tuna Kobatchi (which features seared tuns, ponzu, sesame oil and seeds, pickled shallots, radish, and garlic chips), while hot tastings include dishes such as the Drunk Flank (kirin marinated steak, smoked salt furikake fries and shishito chimichurri).
Sushi Pop also offers classic sushi rolls, Nigiri specials, and Nigiri and Sashimi.
If the dishes sound a bit unusual and out of your realm, Nanda suggested her personal favorite.
“If you are interested in some fresh sushi-style cuisine, I definitely suggest the cold tasting — the tuna kobatchi, the tuna tataki,” Nanda said. “The cold tastings are super unique, and you can have a lot of it and get filled up super fast.”
Although the core of the restaurant’s dishes are taken from Japanese cuisine, they also are inspired by foods from around the world — hence the usage of the term “Japanese fusion.”
The chef inspired cuisine takes inspiration from all over — from Latin America to the United States to Vietnam. It makes sense when considering Trinh and his family are Vietnamese.
“We use a lot of different flavor profiles to create unique dishes that are really signature to Chef Chau,” Nanda said. “Everything is delicately platted, with fresh herbs, imported fresh wasabi and imported Japanese soy.”
These dishes and more will be a part of a menu that will be changed daily, Nanda said. That way, Sushi Pop can offer up something fresh and new every day.
Between the constantly changing daily menu and the fresh ingredients used to make their dishes, Nanda hopes visitors walk away with a fun, delicious experience.
“I hope when they sum up our restaurant in a nutshell to their friends and family, is that they had the greatest service experience,” Nanda said. “I don’t expect them to know all the intricate details of what exactly they had, but I want them to walk away being like, ‘Wow.’”