From your first step through the door, Shin Japanese Cuisine has your full attention. The long, sleek sushi bar lures you in. The waterfall element at the door pleasantly distracts for a second and then the floor-to-ceiling windows fill the room with light. The decor is modern comfy from the high-top tables up front to the traditional low-rise table at the back. All this before you are mesmerized by the menu.
We started with the tempura shrimp and vegetables ($6), which consisted of tempura-fried jumbo shrimp, squash and asparagus. The batter clung to the veggies like a beautiful veil — enhancing the food, not hiding it.
The shaved Shin takaki beef ($10) was beautifully marbled. The platter included ruffles of ginger, sprouts and a garlicky ponzu sauce for dipping.
The avocado salad ($6) with fresh tuna ($10) rose from a bed of ultra-fresh greens. A blissfully creamy Hass avocado sat in the center, generously trimmed with tuna and lightly drizzled with a yuzu miso dressing.
Entrees include a side of rice, miso soup and a side salad.
Side salads are presented in glass tumblers and dressed in soy-based vinaigrette or ginger dressing. The miso soup included enoki mushrooms, tofu, scallions and wakame seaweed.
My Chilean sea bass ($22) was marinated in soy sauce and finished with a butter glaze that had a whisp of citrus. Cooked to perfection, the subtly sweet fillet flaked away elegantly.
The yuzu scallops ($18) were wrapped in smoky bacon, sauteed and finished with a soy sauce-butter glaze.
For sushi lovers, there's a variety of indulgences here. From the "signature rolls" section we sampled the spicy sandwich ($9) with diced tuna, avocado and spicy mayonnaise. Rolled in a bean sheet, it was presented in triangle slices. The roadhouse ($8) had seared beef, shaved garlic and fresh shiso leaf. The ragged-edged herb has complex mint, cinnamon and ginger notes.
Desserts are no afterthought. The refreshing ginger sorbet ($4) had an icy granita texture and mellow flavor. It was my idea of a Florida snowball.
The tropical sundae ($7) was an elegant Japanese spin on an ice cream parlor treat. Banana tempura is presented with scoops of traditional Japanese ruby-colored, red bean ice cream, then judiciously drizzled with a thin milk chocolate sauce and served with fresh strawberries on the side.
Shin Japanese Cuisine brings a casual elegance to downtown Orlando and some of the best sushi around. The waitstaff was attentive and well-versed on the nuances of the menu on both visits. The space has a vibrant vibe and Shin's menu offers a good range for diverse tastes and budgets.
Food Editor Heather McPherson can be reached at 407-420-5498 or email@example.com.