A world of flavors

Sushi restaurant in Lecanto adding international diversity to menu
By Julianne Munn

World Fusion will debut this week with an eclectic menu including Japanese, Persian, North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean specialties to complement its existing fare in the Timberline Shopping Plaza.

The restaurant, located just off County Road 486 just east of the intersection of County Roads 486 and 491, opened as Sushi-O about two years ago and has collected a following of sushi and sashimi aficionados.

Enthusiastic about the name change to Sushi-O Worldwide Fusion and the new menu are co-managers and sushi chefs Erin Rice and Stephanie Vasquez, as well as owner Richard Rice.

A notice to current and future customers notes: “Our cuisine integrates fresh local ingredients with Asian flavors for a unique and delicious worldwide fusion of cultures. In addition to sushi and sashimi, we also offer a variety of dishes from different cultures, including traditional Japanese, Thai and Chinese. Our menu includes a variety of healthy choices, as well as many vegetarian-friendly dishes.”

Erin Rice said the present sushi bar and grill menu will remain the same, but the new international menu should be complete by late January.

Asian decor will denote the location of the sushi bar and grill, according to Vasquez, and the remainder of the restaurant will focus on the international food theme.

The 65-seat restaurant has also added outdoor patio dining to its repertoire and a separate full beverage bar with a “happy hour” from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We really want to introduce new choices,” Erin Rice explained. “We plan to have Middle Eastern falafel, hummus and flat breads, gyros, clams and mussels, coconut crusted flounder, North African dishes, and Persian and Armenian entrées, such as kabobs.”

Rice said she has studied the art of sushi preparation for more than a year and has “a passion for cooking.”

Indeed, our service was exemplary during a recent visit, when we tucked into a Detroit Roll with salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, cucumber, avocado, tempura coconut fried and topped with spicy honey and cranberries. A delicious feast for the eyes, beautifully assembled.

Next was a Philly Roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado — another sushi sensation. Both rolls were accompanied by soy dipping sauce, Japanese green horseradish and fresh ginger flakes.

A vegetable tempura of asparagus, sweet potato and eggplant, lightly battered and served with a tempura dipping sauce, also delighted with crunchy flavors.

Rice and Vasquez agreed that among the most popular sushi are the Volcano, Detroit and Super Tuna rolls.

The classic rolls — think California roll — range from $4 to $6 and the special rolls from $8 to $14, and one order is equivalent to a full meal unless you chopped wood that day.

Patrons of the restaurant can rest assured that present menu items will still be available, such as the very popular chicken and pork katsudon bowls, $11.95 and $13; the Tour of Asia filet mignon and lobster tail served over sriracha mashed potatoes and asparagus and topped with micro greens, $23.50; stir-fry dishes; and other Asian specialties.

Plus there’s the lunch specials, all $9.95, including General Tsao’s chicken, Bang Bang Shrimp, Teriyaki chicken skewers, sesame chicken, served with white or fried rice and a veggie spring roll. Just $2.50 more for an added side salad.

The restaurant is spacious and comfortable, service is friendly and accommodating and there are daily specials on a chalkboard.

World Fusion is in Timberlane Plaza a short distance east of County Road 491.