Sashimi sends F. Bubba back to the islands
By Bubba Scott, GLOB Correspondent
Editors Note: Farmer Bubba Scott is a container vegetable farmer. To help support the farm, he is a P.H.D., Professional Home Developer, AKA The House Doctor.
A new year and a new GLOB look! As they say in Texas, 'Ain't that great'! The GLOB Master and myself went to our first lunch of the year last week.
Our lunch stop is Sushi Chao, right in the middle of the Gator Nation in the University Plaza on University Avenue. The owners of Bento Cafe have added a jewel of a restarant to their business portfolio.
It's always fun to try a new sushi restaurant and see just how authentic it really is. We arrived at the right time -- just after they opened at 11:30. It must have been that classes were still in session so we didn't feel rushed.
Mike broke out his camera and let them know who we were and we were there for a Sushi CHAO lunch. We got the green light. While Mike was making his pitch, I was checking out the food, starting with the raw fish.
Before I go on, let me just say, my living in Hawaii planted a good seed in me for what sushi and sashimi should taste like. And there IS a difference between the two: Sushi is raw slices of fish, mixed with rice, vegetables and wrapped in seaweed. Sashimi is simply raw fish. Having said that, it's on to describing our lunch feast.
SushiCHAO is a fast casual cafeteria line style restaurant, and itâ€™s really neat the way they have started the lunch selection line right inside the door. First, you have the raw section, then the steamed or boiled section, and finally the fried section. Each item wasn't floating in water or oil like in other buffet style lunch stops. That's one thing I look for. Taking care to be sure the lunch entrees donâ€™t look like they have been â€˜under the lightsâ€™ a long time and having a small amount of entrees available, tells me the food is cooked fresh.
I started with the steamed food. which was a mix of chicken, tofu, lo mein noodles and vegetable dishes. I'm not a big fan of fried or heavy battered foods.
On my plate was a variety of tasty treats. The beans had their own taste and were separated from the rest of the food. I always start my with Lo Mein noodles. Kind of a must for FarmerBubba. One vegetable dish had broccoli, snow peas, carrots and baby corn. The other was lightly breaded tofu, and topping my dish off was a type of Szechuan chicken. Each had its own taste. Which is a plus for me (I canâ€™t say it enough!). As a matter of fact, I couldn't taste the oil the food was cooked in. Another big plus. To me, this is what separates Sushi CHAO from other places we've visited. When I finished ALL of that, I went back to the raw food section for more.
In other words, I went through the line twice. I couldn't help it. It all looked so good and the S. CHAO staffers preparing my lunch weren't from Texas â€“ they really knew what they were doing.
My raw selection was The Spicy Tuna-Salmon Don Sashimi Bowl -- photo at the top and to the right of this feature story. A half tuna, half salmon bowl with avocado, celery, masago, roasted sesame seeds and topped with some very good wakabe salad and a dollop of powerful wasabi on a bed of white rice. And don't forget to include the soy sauce for your S. Bowl.
At SushiCHAO you are charged for your lunch by the ounce. That was interesting. Mike made a good point that, if he had known they give you a complimentary side order of rice at the cash register, he wouldnâ€™t have asked for the fried rice from the line. Rolls and bowls are priced separately. There is a complete SushiCHAO menu available at the bottom of this feature story.
The lunch was unreal. Mike and I have been to several Asian lunch stops on behalf of fellow GLOBers, and SushiCHAO is right at the top of GLOB list of places with good eating.
Hereâ€™s an Asian food tip I learned in Hawaii. You should be able to taste each item on your plate without adding additional sauce, spice, or flavorings. Another cooking point I learned was that each type of fish should have its own flavor. That's why I try a bite of each vegetable and fish â€˜naked,â€™ with nothing on it, before I â€˜dressâ€™ the food.
And what about the rice? In Asian food, the rice shouldn't be hard and dry or too wet. It also has to have its own taste. Thatâ€™s another plus for SushiCHAO.
We had our lunch outside in front of SC, which was a plus, and everything I ate was a big 10. While enjoying our food, the sights of campus life were all around us. This place is an obvious hit with UF students.
Like I said, we arrived before class let out, but before we left S. CHAO had became packed.
I'm proud to say the only thing I carried out in a cool, black to-go box was the rice. In my experience, The only eating that would top this was when I was on a fishing trip in Hawaii. We caught a good size ahi tuna fish. The deck hand cut it up, put it in a bowl, added some soy and handed out chop sticks, and then joined the captain and passengers in a sashimi lunch that was as fresh as you could ever get.
The mainland boys from up north, to put it lightly, were hanging over the side of the boat â€˜chumming.â€™ Hey, that meant more sashimi for the rest of us.
SushiCHAO should be a must visit for anyone wanting to try good sushi. The servers were nice and very helpful; they made GLOB Master Mike and myself feel welcome. I will be going back for another Sashimi Bowl.
The Pluses and Minuses of Sushi CHAO:
Sushi CHAO + indicators: Authentic sashimi and sushi.
Sushi CHAO - indicators: None noted
Offer your GLOB comments, lunch photographs and opinions about SushiCHAO. Please identify your opinions with a PLUS SIGN (+) for positive comments, and a MINUS SIGN (-) for your negative comments. - THANKS!
- Phone Number: 373 2277
- Address: 1620 W. University Ave., Gaineville, FL
- Urban GLOB Location: Midtown
- Web Site: Sushi CHAO
- Latitude: 29.652237
- Longitude: -82.343897
TM Sunday, 30 December 2012 21:13 Comment Link
Can't wait to try out the Sushi CHAO sushi, thanks for sharing your experience with Gainesville!
bob Saturday, 01 September 2012 04:10 Comment Link
Sounds like a very good place to eat, will have to check it out.Thanks for the nice article.depot bob
Ed Jewett Thursday, 19 July 2012 10:01 Comment Link
I will go to lunch in August at Sushi Chao, like I do almost every day, since I work on campus across the street. You can get whatever you want, in any amount you want, since they charge by the ounce. You can get excellent broccoli, just barely cooked, still crunchy, bright green snow peas, good fried rice,Gen.Tso's chicken or steak or other chicken. They used to have excellent shrimp too, but I haven't seen that in a while.