Second Helpings

Second Helping

I have only one problem with Japon: the wasabi. It tastes chalky, pasty and dry, and its texture affects me like nails on a chalkboard. And since I've been known to order tekka maki to go just as an excuse to eat wasabi off my finger, a sushi bar's wasabi matters to me. But not as much as its fish. And I have no problems in that department at Japon. The longtime sushi spot on South Gaylord has excellent-quality fish, very talented rollers, one of the friendliest bars in town, and chefs who not only know the freshness of everything on hand, but don't hesitate to tell you when something is good, not so good or best avoided. From the most classic sashimi presentations to the Japanese specialty entrees, I've never had anything here I didn't like. Except the wasabi. These days, though, Japon has a problem of its own: Construction on the space next door, where the restaurant plans to move, keeps dragging on. Originally scheduled for this past June, the completion date keeps getting pushed back by two, three weeks at a time. The most recent target was early August, but when I stopped in for a quick lunch last week, I took a look and saw that the space was still gutted, with just a few work lights and a lot of scaffolding. Sitting at the bar, I asked the sushi chef handling my beautiful, wisp-thin yellowtail and shockingly fresh salmon sashimi the status of the project. "Two, maybe three weeks," he told me. He also said that he couldn't wait for it to be done so that they could all move out of the cramped corridor that Japon currently occupies and into the sleek, modern, sexy new digs (at which point the original Japon space will be leased out). Yeah, well, me too, I told him. It's been a long wait. And in the meantime, hold the wasabi.
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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan