I decided to take advantage of an Orlando Restaurant Week deal and visit the new Ginza Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar on Colonial Drive. To be specific, the Ginza on Colonial Drive near Mills 50. There’s another one on West Colonial in Ocoee, although the Orlando Restaurant Week Web site lists only the downtown Orlando Ginza as a participant.
(Interesting to note that the two Ginzas -- or is that Ginzi? -- have separate Web sites, and neither refers to the other or indicates any kind of relationship.)
The Restaurant Week deal at Ginza offers a three course dinner for $15. You can choose a first course of either edamame or seaweed salad, and a dessert of ice cream. For the entree, you can have a sushi sample with a choice of three rolls from a list of dozens, or you can experience the hibachi (teppanyaki table) and have chicken, steak or shrimp (choose two), with vegetables, fried rice, noodles and salad.
The hibachi seemed like a better deal, and truthfully, I wasn’t much in the mood for sushi. But I also wasn’t in the mood to sit at a hot table with strangers while the teppanyaki chef clanged his spatula and knife on the table. Sushi it would be.
For my rolls I chose the yellowfin, the dynamite and the Mexican. When they arrived, only the yellowfin was identifiable. The white meat was rolled tightly into small, bite-sized nuggets wrapped in chewy seaweed paper. I finally determined that the dynamite roll was the one made with some sort of baked fish, fashioned into a sort of salad. It was unlike any dynamite roll I’d had before. It also had a fishy taste, which is not a good thing any time, least of all in a sushi restaurant. (Have you ever noticed that it’s a good thing to describe something as beefy, but fishy, not so much?)
The Mexican roll’s only distinguishing characteristic was that it had a dollop of fiery hot sriracha sauce on the outside. Otherwise, the shrimp tempura-based roll was farily ho-hum.
The portions were ample, which makes this a play on the old Catskills joke: the food isn’t very good, but the portions are big.
By the way, I liked the chewy-crunchy seaweed salad, and two scoops of the green tea ice cream was more than generous.
Ginza Two occupies the very large space vacated by Viet Nam Town restaurant, directly across the street from Little Saigon. Service was alert and friendly -- I got no attitude for being a single diner or asking for the Restaurant Week menu, only smiles.
Unfortunately, the smiles aren’t enough for me to recommend Ginza, at least not for the sushi. The hibachi experience may be another matter.
Ginza Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar is at 1101 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-896-8968. Here’s a link to the Ginza Two Web site.