When I reviewed Kadence, nearly a year ago, I said that the omakase sushi bar was perhaps one of the best restaurants in Orlando, even though – or maybe because – it did not match the criteria for what we consider a restaurant to be.
One doesn’t make a reservation but rather purchases a (nonrefundable) ticket for a specified time to sit at one of nine seats. There is no menu; customers are served what the chef prepares, all receiving each dish at the same time.
But the experience itself was unique, and the quality of the food exceptional.
One particular thing that made the meal so enjoyable was watching the chefs work, especially Mark Berdin and his skillful one-hand method of shaping the pads of rice for the nigirizushi.
That, of course, can’t be experienced when getting takeout from Kadence, which currently is all that is being offered. But the quality of the sushi and other selections is unquestionably the same. And for once you can make your own selections.
As with the prepandemic process for booking, orders are taken through Tock, an online ticketing system for restaurants. The first decision you must make is what time you’d like to pick up your order. You may request food for pickup only on the same day and orders must be placed during a certain time window – 8 a.m.-1 p.m. – for pickup beginning at 4 p.m. and scheduled in 15 minute blocks until 7 o’clock. Time slots can be “sold out,” which helps keep the chefs from being overwhelmed and patrons from having to wait. A good system that I wish more restaurants would adopt.
Once you’ve selected your time slot, you’ll be directed to that day’s menu. I was disappointed that the day I ordered the chef’s choice sushi box was not available. Instead I ordered the striped bass sushi box and the kanpachi sushi box.
Each included five perfectly crafted nigiri pieces, the striped bass (above) each with a thinly sliced lime on top, and accompanied by a stack of pickled ginger and a tiny fish-shaped squeeze bottle of soy sauce.
The five pieces of kanpachi, or amberjack, shared three half-moon lime slices, for some reason. But all of it was exquisitely fresh and mouth meltable.
I also ordered a chirashi bowl, or box in this case, which included a base of vinegared rice topped with a colorful composition of chunks of raw fish, including salmon and tuna, vegetables, and big bubbles of fish eggs.
Everything was securely packaged and labeled and the sack included napkins and chopsticks. I arrived at the unmarked gray box where Kadence is housed at my designated time, called the number to let them know I was there and soon a young masked man brought the food out. I picked up my order a couple of hours before I planned to eat, so I placed everything in the refrigerator for a short time and removed it far enough in advance to get it closer to room temperature. There did not seem to be a degradation in quality.
Kadence is at 1809 E. Winter Park Road, Orlando. Takeout is currently offered Thursday through Sunday. Orders are placed online only.