Suddenly there’s a surge of new sushi joints popping up around town. One is Ootoya Sushi Lounge, which replaced Shari Sushi in Thornton Park, which closed in October of 2019. Much seems the same about the space, and Ootoya doesn’t present anything that would distinguish it above the other sushi restaurants that are opening or that have established themselves, though what I sampled on a recent visit was enjoyable.
My companion and I started with an appetizer of Ootoya Toast, a short oblong block of bread topped with loosely chopped bluefin and uni, the creamy textured reproductive organ of a sea urchin (try not to think about that). A dollop of salty caviar topped it and it was decorated with shiny flecks of gold leaf. A nice two-biter.
My friend chose the Monster roll, a more intimidating moniker for what many sushi restaurants call a spider roll, which when you think of it has never been a very appetizing name, either. It features at the center a deep-fried breaded soft shell crab along with sliced avocado and cucumbers plus some spring mix greens for something a little different. It had a generous squeeze of eel sauce and it was quite tasty.
I went with the Naruto Rainbow roll, a colorful collection of fish, including salmon and tuna, set atop rolled rice and topped with thinly sliced jalapeños and drizzled with a sweet sauce.
To assess the chef’s nigirizushi prowess, I ordered a piece of bluefin tuna. The pad was packed tightly and the slice of fish did not drop off when turned over to dip it into the dish of soy.
Our server was friendly and accommodating. We sat on the patio but the dining room looked inviting, and the high ceilings have always been conducive to good ventilation.
Ootoya is announcing Sunday, May 16, as its grand opening, even though it has been rolling sushi onsite for a couple of months now. No doubt during that time two or three other sushi bars have opened.
Ootoya Sushi Lounge is at 621 E. Central Blvd., Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-930-2002,