I wanted Jade Sushi & New Asian to be better than it was. I expected it, in fact.
I had not been to this Edgewater Drive address since the restaurant was known as Jade Bistro and, in 2003, replaced a rather sketchy Chinese restaurant that I never had the courage to eat at. Jade Bistro, too, leaned more toward Chinese with its menu, though it did introduce sushi, which at the time was showing up on all types of Asian menus, even some non-Asian ones.
Jade Sushi & New Asian places the sushi more prominently, at least in the name. Sushi traditionalists might be disappointed in a dearth of classic rolls and a preponderance of items with cream cheese.
I was disappointed with the Black Widow, a take on a spider roll that my companion had ordered. Like just about everything else I sampled here, it looked appealing and nicely presented. But the soft shell crab that was at the center was limp and flavorless, and the rice was loose. Avocado, eel and drizzles of eel sauce topped it all, but none offered anything noteworthy.
My nigirizushi order of escolar couldn't have been plainer, like two slices of fish unceremoniously tossed atop inexpertly fashioned pads of rice. No cohesion at all.
The Shoyu Duck Ramen, again, looked terrific. It had plenty of slices of pan-seared duck breast and small nubs of foie gras. But the shoyu broth was flat and lifeless, it lacked unctuousness to fill the mouth with flavor, not even a taste of soy, as the shoyu would indicate.
I liked the Wow Bao that we shared as an appetizer, though not to the extent that the name would warrant. It had pork belly inside doughy steamed buns with radish and peanuts.
Service was slow and inattentive with inexplicable long waits, even by sushi bar standards. After requesting water, and getting none, I got up from my patio table and took the water pitcher from one that had been vacated.
Actually, I probably could have gleaned an entire meal from the various tables that were no longer occupied but whose detritus and leftovers had not been cleared.
We chose to dine outside because the dining room was cold, both in temperature and in the harshness of the lighting and decor.
When I reviewed Jade Bistro those many years ago, I noted that College Park had few restaurants of quality. Fortunately, that's no longer true. There aren't many places for sushi, to be sure, but exclusivity shouldn't be an excuse not to offer better.
Jade Sushi & New Asian is at 2425 Edgewater Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch Monday and Wednesday through Saturday and for dinner Wednesday through Monday. The phone number is 422-7968.