Over the years I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of talented copy editors who, besides correcting my typos and grammar gaffes, wrote brilliant headlines that captured the essence of my review, usually with a clever turn of a phrase. Every now and then, however, there would be a newbie, and I knew that when the review was for a Thai restaurant, the neophyte would go for a pun, thinking it was fresh and clever, something like “Thai one on here” or “Thai to die for” or something equally as cringeworthy.
But here’s a restaurant whose very name is punnish: Thaitanic Sushi. It seems an ironic choice for one’s business. There was a time when the word titanic simply meant large. That was before the word was forever synonymous with the greatest cruise line disaster in history. That was over a hundred years ago, so maybe it’s time to reclaim the word.
But even still, the name doesn’t fit here. Thaitanic Sushi is hardly huge. It’s a tiny slip of a restaurant on University Boulevard.
It’s also not a disaster. To the contrary, I liked everything about Thaitanic Sushi (except the name). Thaitanic is, essentially, one of the businesses that had to relocate when the strip mall at the corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail was demolished last year to make way for apartments. Then it was a restaurant called Bangkok Square, which was actually owned by Linda Vonghaasene, the mother of Thaitanic’s owner, Naly Phimmasone. My server explained that when Phimmasone decided to take the business elsewhere, she wanted to make it his own with a new name. At Thaitanic, Phimmasone handles the Japanese food and sushi and her mother does the Thai food.
I’m pretty sure I visited Bangkok Square, many years ago, but I don’t remember anything about it. It didn’t make much of an impression on me.
But Thaitanic did, and not just because of the name.
I liked the way I was warmly greeted when I walked in, by several workers, and I liked the comfortable feel of the place. And I liked the food.
I ordered one of the lunch specials that offered both Thai and sushi together in a bento box. At my server’s suggestion, I had the pad Thai with chicken and spicy tuna roll. (The bento boxes are priced at $9.95 but the spicy tuna roll adds another dollar to the cost.)
I was first served a cup of miso soup, which had a distinct and flavorful fish broth base. It also had broad leaves of seaweed and small cubes of creamy tofu.
The four-square bento included a salad with ginger dressing in one of the compartments and the pad Thai noodles and sushi roll in two of the others. The fourth square had some carrot shreds and an orange slice. I guess they had to put something there.
The salad was serviceable and added a nice coolness. And yes, for those of you still curious about the restaurant’s name, the salad was made with iceberg lettuce. The Thai dish had crushed peanuts and a good bit of spicing, but not enough to overwhelm the more subtle tastes. (I had requested the dish medium hot; American hot and Thai hot would have been above that on the heat scale.)
The spicy tuna roll was made with the tuna minced, like tuna tartar. There were eight one-bite coins, and I devoured each one of them. If I return to Thaitanic, I think I’ll concentrate more on the Thai offerings; the curries looked intriguing.
I’m not at all sure what the headline writer striving to be clever would do with the name. Maybe “Smooth sailing with Thaitanic.”
Thaitanic Sushi is at 7583 University Blvd., Winter Park. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. Here is a link to thaitanicsushi.com. The phone number is 407-960-3815.