Photo courtesy of sushipoprestaurant.com/
Sushi Pop is sort of an unlikely fit for the sleepy former farm town that is Oviedo, but there it is, just off of 434 on Mitchell Hammock Rd there’s a bright pink neon sign beckoning you. I couldn’t tell you the first time we visited Sushi Pop (probably early 2012) but I can tell you it has never disappointed us.
The interior of sushi pop is very modern; they have a glowing pink bar, white leather upholstered booths, brushed aluminum tables, high ceilings and televisions playing a variety of anime or quasi japanese related films (This past New Years Eve they were playing The Karate Kid).
The staff is always friendly, knowledgeable and fast but more importantly they dress in the unique street styles of Harajuku. As for their menu they have a variety of appetizers (hot and cold), sushi (obviously) and desserts.
I know what you’re thinking – tacos at a sushi place, fusion has gone too far. We ordered it because it had the magic words “Pork Belly” and its awesome. Its a perfectly braised pork belly with a hoisin bbq sauce topped with scallions, cilantro and greens. The pork is so tender it melts in your mouth and the greens are there to cut through the richness of the sauce and pork and give a nice crunchiness to each bite.
Nigiri and Sashimi
They have a wide variety of fresh options, Maggie’s personal favorite is the Uni (pictured above in the lower right of the plate). Mine is probably the bluefin tuna belly (pictured just above the Uni). If you don’t know what you want ask because all the servers are extremely knowledgeable and can make some excellent recommendations. If you want to know what the freshest of the fresh is or what the chef’s are most interested in at the moment I’d recommend liking the Sushi Pop facebook page for regular updates, its not unusual to see whole pre butchered fish show up in their newsfeed.
Sushi Pop has about two dozen regular rolls on their menu, a few traditional but mostly not. And they always have a chef’s special or two. A couple of our favorites are:
Smoked salmon, avocado and tempura flakes topped with baked tuna, salmon, yellowtail, flounder, spicy mayo, smelt roe and chives rendered in bacon fat. Fair warning it’s hard to eat because there’s more going on on the outside than the inside – but its good and thats why they invented napkins right?
Originally we ordered this because we loved the name, but its pretty tasty. Its fuji apples, smoked salmon, avocado rolled up and topped with salt water eel, thick balsamic, Winter Park Tomme Cheese and basil sprouts. Its an excellent roll with nice use of a local ingredient.
An honorable mention to The Rising Sun, Everything Bagel and the Oviedo Chicken Rolls. Also, make sure to always ask what the specials are, as they are ever changing and almost always surprising in a wonderful way. Below is a picture of the special when we visited, which was a deconstructed fried soft shell crab sandwich. It was both crunchy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside.
If you didn’t like fish or sushi or really cool japanese restaurants I’d still recommend that you go to Sushi Pop and try out the dessert menu.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sorbet
With the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sorbet you get a little show with your dessert because the sorbet is made tableside using liquid nitrogen. The Jelly sorbet is topped with marshmallow foam and peanut butter powder. It tastes as cool as it sounds and on top of that is a molecular gastronomy experience that isn’t’ all that common in Orlando.
The PMS is a molten chocolate cake topped with peanut butter powder and served with a salted caramel ice cream. It’s perfectly named and perfectly delicious. The salty peanut butter powder cuts through the richness of the chocolate cake and there’s a variety of textures that make it really interesting to eat.
If you were stuffed and wanted a smaller dessert I’d recommend going with just a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.