I recently ventured over to the west side of Tallahassee for lunch at Sumo Sabi. The restaurant is located on Pensacola Street in the same shopping plaza as Gold’s Gym, Bill’s Bookstore and Hobbit American Grill. A large purple and green sign adorned with a sumo wrestler announced Sumo Sabi’s presence. I was unsure what to expect as I passed an employee washing the reflective silver windows that lined the restaurant’s front.
Walking into the restaurant was a pleasant surprise. To the left was a long counter manned by three employees. Orders were placed at one end, food was prepared in the middle, and a cash register anchored the far end. On the wall behind the counter was a colorful mural of three anime characters. To the right were two rows of metal topped tables surrounded by black chairs. A third row of tables fronted a long padded seat that ran the length of the space. The walls were painted a bright lime green, and the black painted drop tile ceiling was decorated with white paper lanterns of varying shapes. It had a clean, modern feel and would not be out of place in Midtown.
As I took in my surroundings I surveyed the gigantic menu board. There were traditional rolls, specialty rolls, crunchy rolls, rice bowls, and curries. Many of the offerings looked interesting. I scanned the board several times and had no idea what to order. Picking just one items for lunch proved to be too difficult. I ended up selecting a spicy tuna roll and a spicy tuna rice bowl. I love spicy tuna. A coke completed my lunch, and my bill with tax came to a shade over $17.00. Ouch.
Instead of being handed a disposable plastic or Styrofoam cup the cashier handed me a reusable cup emblazoned with the Sumo Sabi logo. After filling it up I grabbed a pair of chopsticks, a small plastic cup of soy sauce, and some yum-yum sauce. The outside of the soy bottle was coated with a sticky grime and needed to be wiped down. It was the only unclean item I encountered in an otherwise spotless restaurant.
A few minutes after sitting down I was presented with my spicy tuna roll on a large rectangular white plate. The roll consisted of spicy tuna with scallions wrapped in nori lined rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Sumo Sabi proudly trumpets on its website it does not employ any overpaid sushi chefs, and it showed. The roll was haphazardly assembled and sloppily sliced into pieces of varying sizes. What it lacked in looks it made up for in taste, and ended up being a fairly decent roll.
The spicy tuna bowl arrived a short time later. On top of a base of white rice were two large balls of spicy tuna accompanied by cucumbers and avocados. The dish was drizzled with Wassabi dressing. It was a deconstructed spicy tuna roll and packed a nice bit of heat without being over powering. The portion was large, and while I managed to finish the tuna, cucumbers and avocados, a large pile of rice remained. Overall Sumo Sabi is a good pick for quick sushi in a fun college atmosphere.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: