Buddha Lounge in Blue Mountain Beach Has Sushi You Crave
December 9, 2012 by Whitney Rowan
Buddha Lounge is a hip, sophisticated sushi spot that serves up original and fresh creations. Owners Jamison Hendler and Tracy Doherty have transformed the old "Sally's Backside" space into a Zen-like, casual atmosphere and it has become a SoWal sushi hot spot. But it is also a definite fun place with live music, a great bar area, and outdoor deck which locals love.
Chef Jamison has been rolling sushi since 2004 and while at Liquid Lounge in Mobile, won awards for “Best Sushi” three years in a row. She and Tracy seized at the opportunity to have their own restaurant and opened Buddha Lounge in March of 2012. Buddha Lounge uses only the freshest produce and picks up local seafood daily from Goatfeather’s Seafood. Nothing is ever frozen and you can truly taste the quality of ingredients used in their dishes.
A few of my favorite appetizers are the Crab Cake Sliders, Jalapeño Poppers and Firecracker Shrimp. The crab cake sliders are made with jumbo lump crab meat served over a bed of arugula, and topped with a lemon caper sour cream sauce. The sliders had a really nice, crispy outside and were filled with crab meat, and the sauce gave it a zesty, tangy flavor.
The Jalapeño Poppers are three fresh jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, tempura fried and topped with a sweet chili sauce. The heat of the jalapeños is toned down by the crunchy tempura outside, and I thought the complexity of the sweet chili paired well with the cream cheese filling.
My hands-down favorite is the Firecracker Shrimp, which is four shrimp lightly marinated in fish sauce with red curry paste, wrapped in spring roll wrappers with cream cheese and cilantro and served with a spicy mayo. The red curry paste gives the shrimp a fiery flavor, the cilantro makes it taste very fresh, and the spicy mayo gives it richness and completeness in flavor.
Their sushi menu features flavor combinations that are unique and one of the reasons Buddha Lounge stands out from the pack. I like the Blue Mountain Beach, Loco and Grayton Beach rolls, but there are plenty of options to choose from on the menu.
The Blue Mountain Beach is diced shrimp, red onion and portabella mushrooms tossed in a spicy mayo, then served in an avocado half. I loved the surprise element of unlikely ingredients being served in a creamy avocado half. The shrimp and veggies tasted so spicy and delicious and the avocado gave it a sweet and buttery finish.
The Loco roll is five rolls of sushi grade tuna, cucumber, cream cheese and sriracha, tempura fried and topped with spicy mayo. There is a flavor explosion as soon as you take a bite. The crunchiness, the spiciness, and flavors of the fresh tuna combine to make a sexy piece of sushi. This particular roll is the kind you crave time and time again.
The Grayton Beach roll is sushi grade tuna, avocado, tempura fried asparagus topped with ponzu sauce. The crunchy asparagus was extremely tasty and harmonized well with the tuna, and the ponzu sauce gave the roll a nice citrus flavor.
Buddha Lounge offers a buy one, get one half off appetizers and sushi Tuesdays through Saturdays, along with drink specials. They also have weekly live music and “Say the Word” poetry readings once a month. You can also book Buddha Lounge for private events and special occasions.
Be sure to check out SoWal’s Music Calendar for upcoming shows and events! Buddha Lounge is located behind Sally’s by the Seashore gas station at 2320 Scenic 30A , (850) 267-0911.