Three Fort Myers sushi spots invent their own character

My son and I are sushi fiends, but I wouldn’t necessarily qualify us as sushi connoisseurs. Not exactly purists, we are all about the Americanized sushi trend and creative rolls that the other place doesn’t do.

A boatload of sushi at Zushi Zushi

I prefer my fish raw; Aaron goes in for cooked seafood and anything with cream cheese. That all said, here are some of our favorite finds in the south Fort Myers area.

Awesome Osaka

Osaka Japanese Steak House does teppanyaki, a full menu of Thai specialties, and a roundup of sushi, sashimi, and rolls. It moved from McGregor Boulevard to San Carlos Boulevard a few years ago, and now occupies a lovely Asian-inspired building with a soothing, welcoming interior.

On a recent visit, I let my son order, which resulted in five rolls each containing, of course, cream cheese. Classicists may go for sashimi (thin slices of raw fish) or even the true sushi (fish atop a platform of seasoned sushi rice), but I had no complaints with the beautiful, generous rolls we stuffed ourselves on. The signature Osaka ($12), for example, was a rich delight of cooked salmon, cream cheese, “krab,” and spicy mayo topped, for texture boost, with tempura flakes.

We tried to decide our favorites, and could barely narrow it down to two each. We both favored the Dancing Eel ($13) with cream cheese, roe, cucumber, avocado, and eel sauce. The Dragon ($11), with shrimp tempura, eel, cream cheese, avocado, and eel sauce was also a winner.

Fort Myers Beach Style

I insisted on one raw fish roll when we stopped in at Zushi Zushi, relatively new (one year old) on Fort Myers Beach. I have to admit, we both expressed low expectations for sushi in a bar setting at this beach-party haven. Surprise! Not only did we find great variety and creativity, but polished crafting.

“Our sushi is phenomenal,” said manager Chelsie Graddy. “All of our sushi chefs have over 15, 20 years’ experience, and all are Asian. The owners have Home Thai Sushi Bar in Bonita, and there wasn’t any sushi place on the Beach,” she explained the decision to open here.

Unlike Osaka and Origami, the last in our recent sushi trifecta, Zushi Zushi doesn’t cover any Eastern cuisine bases other than Japanese, and its multi-page menu is almost entirely devoted to rolls. (Sister operation House of Brewz does serve American dishes, however.)

Zushi’s main list gives you a choice of regular or cone-shaped hand rolls and indicates whether they are wrapped in nori (seaweed) or sushi rice. That makes it somewhat easier to sift through all the selections.

From that list, we ordered the regular caliente roll (fried white fish, avocado, cucumber, masago roe, and spicy mayo; $7.50), spicy tuna topped with an excellent kimchee sauce ($7), and crunchy tuna, where the tuna was raw, but the roll itself was lightly battered and fried. Each delivered delightful mouth joy of varying textures and wide-spectrum flavors.

The menu devotes one whole section to the “dragon roll family,” but we made our fourth selection from the house specialty rolls. The Deep Z Roll ($17) was a magnificent masterpiece – fat with shrimp tempura, avocado, cream cheese, and masago. This roll too was deep-fried and topped with eel sauce and spicy mayo.

Beautifully presented in a boat with a sculptured mound of wasabi and pickled ginger, the rolls sailed our doubts into the sunset. Not only serious, this sushi, but it is generally more affordable than most.

Folds of Flavor at Origami

At the aforementioned Origami, Korean barbecue and cuisine is the sidetrack from its sushi bar, but that doesn’t detract one bit from the authenticity. It was one of the first to do sushi in these parts, and it continues to do so with aplomb and ingenuity.

We usually order the Crazy Dragon ($15) with real crab meat, cooked eel, and avocado inside; tempura flakes, spicy mayo, and eel sauce on the outside.

The sushi chef garnishes the Cool Hawaii roll ($9) of escolar, cream cheese, cucumber, and masago with pretty slices of kiwi;i and the Hot Mango ($16) roll of spicy yellowtail tuna, gingery mango sauce, and eel sauce with slivers of mango. Sweet, colorful touches.

Recently redecorated with bright space and outdoor seating, Origami bridges the gap between the traditional Asian economy of ornamentation and feeling of calm, and Zushi Zushi’s brand of beach-Bali.

IF YOU GO:

Origami

Where: Cypress Trace shopping center, 13300 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers

Prices: Sushi rolls (48-$17); dinner starters $3-$13, entrees $14- $30.

Information: 239-482-2126

 

Osaka Japanese Steak House, Thai Cuisine, and Sushi Bar

Where: 16078 San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers

Prices: Sushi/sashimi $2-$5/two pieces; rolls $7-$13.

Information: 239-489-2414

Zushi Zushi Bar & Restaurant

Where: 201 Old San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers Beach

Prices: Sushi/sashimi $1.75-$4.50, rolls $4-$17

Information: 239-463-9874

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2 Responses to Three Fort Myers sushi spots invent their own character

  1. sweetleisure says:

    Oh my are you prolific or what! Where do you get the energy?

    Love your writing. Thanks for the look. Susan

    Susan Manlin Katzman Food and Travel Writer 26 Southmoor Drive St. Louis, Missouri 63105 Phone 314-330-2622 Society of American Travel Writers American Society of Journalists and Authors

    SWEET LEISURE FACEBOOK TWITTER

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