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Kabooki Sushi

Written By Scott Joseph On June 25, 2013


I was certainly surprised when I stepped inside Kabooki Sushi. The location, at the corner of Colonial Drive and Maguire Avenue, across the street from the Sears Auto Center at Fashion Square Mall, and the facade, an unassuming storefront in a mini row of businesses, didn’t prepare me for the chicly styled restaurant inside. 

The sushi bar and kitchen are at the far end of the room — far being a relative term, as this is a fairly small place — with comfy looking stools. There is a row of banquettes along one wall with white tufted leather seat backs. The other wall has a row of booths. In between are conventional tables and chairs. Large light globes hang about, and the burnt orange walls sport some Japanese paintings amid the omnipresent flatscreen tvs.

But instead of sports programming or opinionated news channels, these televisions play a video that shows fish and the road they take from the sea to a sushi bar. That includes some bloody scenes that might upset some diners.

Kabooki nigiriThe sushi I sampled was very good. The hamachi nigiri was a perfect room temperature, which enhanced the buttery smooth texture of the raw fish slices. And it was prettily presented with a single green sprig on each slice.

I tried two of the rolls, a spider roll and another called the Smoking Double T. The spider roll, of course, was made with sauteed soft shell crab with some sticks of avocado thrown in. The crab was crispy yet tender. If there is to be a complaint it is that the slices were too large to shove in one’s mouth with one bite.

The Smoking Double T was more manageable. This one featured spicy tuna, some more avocado (a little harder in the chew), escolar warmed with a blow torch, and decorations of jalapeno slices dotted with spicy mayo and sriracha. The heat from the peppers and sauce were very nice with the smoothness of the fish. Not sure why it’s called a Smoking Double T because it wasn’t smoking and tuna was the only obvious t, unless it was referring to escolar’s sometimes other name: white tuna (though tuna it is not).

I had an overeager server who insisted on running down a list of his favorites, giving definitions for common terms (expressing apologies for insulting my intelligence but going on anyway) and generally explaining the menu. When I attempted to ignore him and turned the page of the menu to continue reading on my own, he reached down and TURNED THE PAGE BACK! Cheeky. Soon after it was announced that another server would be taking over.

Kabooki, of course, is a misspelling of kabuki, the traditional Japanese dance theater known for its costumes and makeup of elaborately painted faces. I assume the owners chose this spelling because some other restaurant already owns that name. I’m not sure that’s enough to survive a cease and desist order, just as trying to open a fast food joint called Burger Keeng wouldn’t be likely to fly. 

But I’m not a lawyer. I just like good sushi, and I’ll be likely to return to Kabooki soon.

Kabooki Sushi is at 3122 E. Colonial Ave., Orlando. It is open for dinner daily. Here is a link to the website. The phone number is 407-228-3839. {jcomments on}

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