Sodo has a new sushi bar and grill. It’s called Sodo Sushi Bar and Grill. It took over the space of the oft troubled Olv, whose name had no hidden meaning or acronymic message. Sodo, or SoDo, is shorthand for south of downtown, which is where it is.
And that’s a good place for this new restaurant, too, because there aren’t any other sushi joints anywhere nearby. Bars and grills, yes, but not sushi bars and grills.
All that seems to have been required to transform the Olv space into a sushi restaurant was to plop a refrigerated case on top of the bar. Voila — or dekiagari, as they say in Japan — sushi bar.
That’s where I sat when I visited recently, under the unwatchable glare of Godzilla-sized television screens.
I ordered some nigirizushi and a specialty roll. After a few minutes my server returned to apologize that my nigiri choice, mackerel, had sold out. He said he was really sorry but I told him there was no need to apologize — a sushi bar should sell out of fresh fish, frequently. In my mind, the mere fact that it wasn’t available, even at 7:30 in the evening, gave the place good cred.
Unfortunately, the escolar I settled on was not a good example of nigiri. While the sliver of fish itself was smooth textured and not too over chilled, the rice pad it was draped over was a problem. It fell completely apart when I tried to pick it up, never mind trying to turn it over to dip the escolar into the soy sauce.
I enjoyed my Mr. Fancy specialty roll much more. It featured spicy tuna and avocado on the inside of the roll with yellowtail on top with a bit of spiced mayo and a decoration of micro greens (always prettier than macro greens, don’t you agree?).
As sushi bars are wont to do, Sodo features specialty rolls with localized names. And given the location, it was nice to see one called Orlando Strong, which I might have ordered until I saw that the tempura flounder was accompanied by kiwi and strawberry. But also given the location, it was a bit jarring to see another roll named the Carnage. Could we call that something else, please?
The staff were friendly, and I enjoyed conversing with the sushi chef (at least the one who wasn’t listening to an iPod while he worked).
Sodo Sushi Bar and Grill is at 25 W. Crystal Lake St., Orlando (It’s near the SuperTarget). They don’t feel the need to tell you on their website when they’re open, so I’ll tell you they serve lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-286-4225.