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Written By Scott Joseph On May 6, 2021

Japango sign

There are certainly more attractive restaurants than Japango, a new boxed sushi concept in Mills 50, but it offers a first-rate product for a fair price, although it does have one major but entirely fixable flaw. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Japango operates out of the Chewy Boba space in a building that fronts Colonial Drive. It looks sort of like a converted one-car garage with black paint the major decor element, although the order counter is unstained piney wood that stands out in the darkness under bright track lighting.

Japango counter

Still classifying itself as in soft opening, Japango offers two sushi boxes, one for $19 and one for $29. Both include a sushi roll and chef’s nigirizushi assortment along with edamame, plantain chips, and a choice of seaweed salad, watermelon “ceviche” or sashimi ceviche. The $29 box gets you an extra roll.

South Steel SJO March AD copy

Japango box

Japango box 1

It’s all packaged nicely in a sturdy, bright red box that looks and feels like it should contain a silk chemise from an upscale boutique.

The young man who greeted me at the counter couldn’t have been friendlier and eagerly explained the concept. He recommended the ceviche roll, which featured spicy tuna, yellowtail, cucumbers and crisped shallots. It had a little bit of spiciness but not as much as I was expecting. But some wasabi paste was provided in a separate container, along with some pickled ginger, so I could heat up the flavor a bit.

Japango nigiri

The assorted nigiri was properly patted and even included a vegan option.

Japango edamame

Japango salad

And I enjoyed nibbling on the chilled edamame sprinkled with pink salt as well as the crunchy seaweed salad.

There are a couple of tables in a dining area for people who want to eat their sushi right there, but the boxes travel well if you want to take it home.

Now for the only disappointment. The name of the larger assortment is called the Boss Box and the smaller – incomprehensibly – is called the Bitch Box. I’m far from being a prude but the term made me feel uncomfortable. It’s misogynistic. It’s demeaning. And there’s no reason for it. I hope they change that when the final menu is printed for the official “hard” opening.

Japango is at 1212 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-897-1377.

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