Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine is one of the newer tenants in the repurposed strip mall on the west side of Orlando known as Chinatown. Despite the name, the businesses there represent a panorama of Asian countries and even a few with no connection to the East (unless the Island Taste restaurant’s menu is eastern Jamaica).
Orlando’s Chinatown doesn’t have the allure of the neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco or even London. It isn’t a place to stroll about. But if you’re a fan of Asian cuisine, it is a place you need to visit. Several times.
You may want to include Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine on one of your trips. There isn’t anything particularly fusionistic about the menu, although it does feature poke and a couple of Korean specialities. But that’s not what fusion means. However, I found the ramen part quite enjoyable.
In particular the curry ramen. I love Japanese style curry and I lament that it isn’t more prevalent on local Japanese menus. It differs from Indian or Thai curries in that its spicing is subtler and the texture smoother and often gravylike. The broth in the ramen was definitely more soup than gravy but the distinct flavor was there. It also contained chashu, or pork, a handful of sweet corn kernels, dense triangles of tofu, kamaboko surimi cakes, chewy bits of shiitake, and tamago, the omnipresent ramen hard boiled egg. All of it sat above a stack of ramen noodles and it was all quite tasty.
I also had the takoyaki, or octopus balls (be nice). These are fritterlike dumplings made with a special flour, tempura scraps, and small bits of octopus. The fritters are deep fried, doused with a Worcestershire-like takoyaki sauce and drizzled with Japanese mayo. Some dried bonito flakes were sprinkled on top. The balls were a bit greasy and the octopus was minimal, but it was nice to see something on the menu besides gyoza.
There is a large, open dining room with long murals on facing walls. The black-lacquered tables have a stash of chopsticks.
Service was perfunctory. There was no attempt to check back after the food had been served. Maybe this was just a way to observe distancing? However, as I was walking out the door, someone yelled from the back of the restaurant to thank me for coming.
Tokyo Ramen Fusion Cuisine is at 5076 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The phone number is 407-440-4609.