Sushi isn't as uncommon as it once was. Once relegated only to Japanese restaurants, sushi can now be found in Thai, Chinese and even American restaurants — it's a mainstay of California Grill's menu and was considered a forte for Crave (which closed recently, but we won't blame the sushi). I railed for a long time against the globalization of sushi — it's a craft, a skill, and it takes great training to do it properly — but I gave up the fight a while ago. I figured if a Thai restaurant could do sushi well, let them.
But I still prefer my sushi from a place that appreciates the heritage and the integrity of the craft. And Sushi Tomi obviously does.
Sushi Tomi occupies a nondescript storefront at the end of a Walmart-anchored plaza at the corner of John Young Parkway and Sand Lake Road. It's tiny and has the typical setup of other area sushi bars, with simple wooden booths along the walls and a sushi counter in a back corner where the chef diligently works. ( I watched with bemusement as the chef, engrossed in preparing a roll before him, gave a grand, uncovered cough and kept on going.)
You're not as likely to find the, shall we say, more creative rolls that are featured in other area sushi bars. I can't say for certain that there is any cream cheese on the sushi line (can't say there isn't, either). But you will find things that won't appeal to any but the more adventurous diners. For instance, a sushi roll of kampyo, a dried gourd. Or salmon skin. Or Japanese pickles. A specials board might offer something even more exotic, at least to Western tastes, such as grouper head or stingray.
I sampled an array of nigirizushi — tuna, escolar, sweet shrimp (loved that one). Everything was expertly sliced and formed and properly presented. I would have liked the kitchen food item of tofu squares with beef tendon if the meat had been properly heated.
Service, from one of the owners, was gracious and prompt. I will look forward to returning to Sushi Tomi.
Sushi Tomi is at 8463 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando. It is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday. There is no website. The phone number is 407-352-8635.