After much hype and anticipation, my boyfriend and I rushed to visit this new nine-seat sushi & sake bar in Orlando's Audubon Park Garden District. They got their start in East End Market with the super popular Kappo, which is no longer open due to this new venture. For our first time, we thought going on a "Freestyle Monday" would be a good idea given it's the only day they don't take reservations and the only day they offer an a la carte menu. Monday dinner service begins at 3:30pm so we arrived around 4:15pm to play it safe. Since most people are still at work, it turned out to be the perfect time to visit before the crowds headed in. As a result, we got to talk to the one other diner as well as the friendly owners (Lo, Mark and Jen) for the majority of our visit.
The atmosphere was very simple and modern with all white walls and a wooden bar. The hip hop music and natural conversation however made it a very comfortable and casual environment that wasn't the slightest bit stuffy. All the plates, bowls and sake cups are different colors and designs, some of which are handmade ceramics by local artist, Kim Sager.
We knew what was on the menu from an Instagram story they posted earlier that day, and naturally decided to order one of everything to share. They change the menu daily and mentioned they often try new ideas on Mondays that if successful, will be added to the omakase menus during the rest of the week. The Monday offerings also tend to be more unique and interesting versus the classic nigiri/sashimi offerings on other days – not to say I don't love and appreciate a fresh piece of fish with or without rice! Instead, we had the bento box with brawn (pig head terrine), anago rice, onsen egg, soup and orange matcha tea cakes as well as an order of the Negitoro donburi, fatty tuna with rice, scallions and a side of nuka (pickles) to cut out some of the fattiness.
To drink, we tried three glasses of sake between the two of us that were the most popular/recommended on the list. The house sake on tap comes in a square wooden cup with salt on each corner to taste as you sip. The Dassai 50 was a bit sweet and fruity, while the Yuki Otoko "Yeti" was more light and dry. Despite their differences, I really enjoyed them all! During our Fernet Ice Cream course, we also got a tasting glass of fernet, a popular digestif in the Japanese culture that resembles a peppermint schnapps.
Overall, I was very impressed by everything – the food, the service and the atmosphere. I not only walked out with a smile on my face from a great new culinary experience but some learnings too! They spoke highly of their chirashi bowls at lunch and omakase dinners, which I plan to attend hopefully very soon.
To plan your visit, check out their website for hours and reservations. They mentioned that they're booking fast and about a month in advance, which is only about to become longer as more people enjoy the same dining experience that we did. It looked like the reception area/bar is likely the waiting area where you might also be able to order sake too, but I can't confirm this.