Bean Sprout- Melbourne/Viera Center- 4 Stars
I'm sure you have seen it as well. That one spot in town that changes restaurants every few years. I always thought it was due to location, while I am sure that is the case 90% of the time, there is the remaining 10% that fail due to lack of quality. Occupying the space that once contained the restaurant Asian Too is a new family operated eatery-- Bean Sprout. The only thing they have in common with their predecessor is that they are both Asian, other than that, Bean Sprout is miles ahead.
The new owners either have impeccable interior design tastes or hired someone in the upper echelon of the profession as the decor chosen for the inside of Bean Sprout is amazing. The colors are warm, soothing and welcoming, the art is modern, minimalistic yet traditional all at the same time. If the food was half as good as the place looked I knew it would at least be edible.
Our garçon for the evening was Kevin. Kevin was good-natured, professional and focused throughout. I placed an order for a Glenlivet on the rocks (specifically two rocks), 1 order of Escolar Nigiri, one spicy tuna handroll, a bowl of Duck Noodle soup and one order of Crispy Fish with Volcano Sauce. Kevin went to place my drink order along with our kitchen order and promptly returned with a glass of Scotch poured over a handful of ice. I said, "No, I asked for a drink with two ice cubes." He apologized and scurried back to the bar soon returning with a Scotch and water. At this point, I was beginning to have my doubts about the whole shebang when an Asian lady approached and introduced herself as the bartender. Trying to place my order directly with her, I quickly saw the breakdown. She may have been a competent mixologist, but her command of the English language left much to be desired. She began to get frustrated while trying to understand my simple request and ended up blaming Kevin for the mess (I don't).
With that hiccup out of the way, the sushi chef placed my nigiri order in front of me and I soon forgot all else. The Escolar was cut so symmetrically that I would have sworn it was done by a machine if I didn't know differently. The pieces were not huge, but certainly, of an adequate size (I didn't feel like I was getting ripped off), the fish was firm, chilled to the correct temperature and most importantly, not pasty or fishy tasting. The rice supporting the Escolar was steamed to the perfect stickiness and slightly sweet as it is written sushi rice should be. Next up was my standard Rorschach test, the spicy tuna hand roll. The cuts of tuna were fresh, large, generously stuffed inside the epitome of a hand-rolled sushi offering, and mixed with just the right amount of chili paste to give it a bit of a kick. The julienned cucumbers nuzzling the tuna were fresh, crisp and the perfect balance of cool to the spice of the chili paste.
The Duck Noodle soup was the sleeper of the meal for sure. I was expecting it to be good, but not as good as it was. The duck is battered and baked to a golden crispiness first, then sliced and set gently within a nurturing bowl of duck broth along with a plethora of goodies including fried garlic and fresh cilantro. It was served at the quintessential temperature for a soup, the broth was freshly made on site with just the right amount of tart to sweet making it worth the trip itself.
This brings us to the final item of our order, the Crispy Fish with Volcano sauce. The fish was a fresh filet of Grouper, no cheap bottom feeding Tilapia to be found here. It was coated generously in a panko crust and fried to an unrivaled golden brown that left the fish firm, yet moist and flakey on the inside. The Volcano Sauce was simply put, amazing. The flavor combinations involved were subtle, intricate and extremely delicious. One second it was spicy, then sweet, then tart, then all three at once. This sauce certainly took my taste buds on a journey they won't soon forget.
The Big Boy says, "If you don't mind a slightly different drink than what you ordered, and you want fantastic sushi along with complex sauces out of the kitchen, stop in Bean Sprout Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar. Your appetite will be glad you did." #bigboydiningout #iamthebigboy