A lot of you young'uns won't remember that there was once a time when a Thai restaurant was a hard thing to find around these parts. One of the first was a restaurant called Bangkok, which occupied a pagodalike building in Altamonte Springs. It was a favorite of many people because they didn't have a larger survey of what Thai food should really be, so they didn't know that what Bangkok was serving was pretty mediocre. Once more Thai restaurants began to open in the area, people realized they didn't have to settle. Bangkok eventually closed.
The same thing happened with sushi bars and Japanese restaurants. Once hard to find, they are now quite common. And I mean common in more ways than one.
Now Wassabi Asian Fusion, featuring sushi and Japanese cuisine, has taken over the old Bangkok space, and unfortunately a bit of the mediocrity has apparently rubbed off on the new tenants.
Not that anything was unacceptable on my lunchtime visit to the Douglas Avenue restaurant. And what was served was served in ample portions. However, I would have gladly taken less quantity for an increase in the quality.
I first chose the two-roll sushi special, which allowed me to choose from a rather limited selection. I opted for the spicy tuna and the shrimp tempura. The latter was the better, with the tempura batter adding a bit of crispness and sweet note. But while the other roll had a fair amount of tuna it had very little spice. It was left to me to add wasabi to give a kick, which makes one wonder what the roll of the sushi chef is — especially in a place called Wassabi.
I also had the curry udon from the kitchen food list. Again, it was a large serving of big, fat rice noodles with some broccoli florets, shredded carrots and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. But curry? No. Only enough to give the hope for some in a faint waft of the dish, and apparently to add some color to the presentation. Disappointing.
I didn't feel particularly welcomed by the staff, who seemed to float through their duties. And the space has a coldness, amplified by concrete floors, bare tabletops and bright green beams on the volume ceiling. The requisite televisions hang high overhead, too.
I don't get the Asian Fusion part of the restaurant's name. Unless the idea was to combine the mediocrity of the old Bangkok Thai restaurant with Wassabi's Japanese food.
Wassabi Asian Fusion is at 260 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs. It is open for lunch Monday through Friday and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-790-7764.