The art of sushi making has been long treasured as the delicate process of artfully rolling and filling thin wisps of crisp nori or soybean paper moistened just right — a skill best watched while leisurely sipping warmed sake at a sushi bar.
However, Michael Zaccheo, restaurateur and owner of Sumo Sushi Sake, has envisioned bringing the trendy oriental delight to the masses via an innovative add-on to his restaurant that offers a drive-thru option.
If you go
Sumo Sushi Sake
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 to 9 p.m. Sundays
Prices: $10.95-$14.95 appetizers; $6-$28.95 sushi and sashimi platters; $4.95-$15.95 Thai specialties; $9 desserts
Great for quick pickups for those on a time budget, Sumo Sushi Sake is making tsunami-sized waves for those looking for the scrumptious wasabi-tinged rolls on the fly, an option not found unless you drive east to Fort Lauderdale.
Opened Feb. 25 in the space formerly occupied by Starbucks and neighbored by Chick-fil-A off Airport-Pulling Road, the latest go-to spot for easy-on-the-waistline fare offers a menu considered as one of the healthiest and lowest-calorie dining options, high in protein and other essential nutrients made with unsaturated variety.
And for those with more time to dine, enter the 75-seat restaurant that is contemporary and modern in design and completely renovated by Zaccheo, a general contractor by trade.
Executing his vision of the perfect restaurant that serves what he loves best — sushi — Zaccheo opted for icy blue, Venetian plastered walls dressed with abstract paintings by a local artist and constructed a black galaxy granite topped bar wrapped in bamboo.
He outlined the top and bottom bar edge with blue-hued lighting that helps to turn down the Naples heat once you step in the door and take one of 20 steel gray bar seats that are set on a slice of wood flooring.
An ample selection of both warm and cold sake varieties is available, like the popular Sake Go (hot) and Sho-Une, the premium cold pick as well as beer and wine. From 4 to 7 p.m., enjoy happy hour specials such as $5 appetizers, buy-one-get-one wine deals and $3 sake bombs.
Pair the libations with specialty rolls ($12.95-$24.95) such as the lobster roll, half of which is sautéed in garlic, butter and sake and the other half baked with a spicy mayonnaise, crabmeat and caviar then wrapped in soybean paper, served with a choice of 16 sauces all concocted by chef Larry Simons.
Other customer favorites are edamame laced with truffle oil ($6.95) or pad thai ($8.95 lunch; $15.95 dinner) a traditional dish made with nam-pla (a condiment mixture of fish sauce, lime juice and chopped bird’s eye chilies). Steak and salmon dishes also are available.
An all-you-can-eat deal for $16.95 that runs from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. allows diners to select from a special menu of items such as salmon, tuna or California rolls, sides such as seaweed or a house salad, pork dumplings, miso soup or fried rice and a choice of tuna and salmon or whitefish and shrimp sushi.
Passionate about his creations and crediting his mother with teaching him the ways of the kitchen, Simons went on to perfect his sushi-making chops under the five-year tutelage of master sushi chef Masat Aka Ochi in Miami’s best sushi restaurants.
“After five years, he said I had become ‘better’ than him and that I was ready to go out on my own,” he said. “I love my craft and love to see the smiles of customers enjoying my food.”