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Sushi in Tampa Bay

Uno May 12, 2004 10:32 AM

Well, Sushi is probably my all time favourite food. In tampa though, great sushi and sashimi, with a variety of choices is hard to find.
Went to the rack last nite for some sushi. Though they have a limited menu choice, they prepared some real decent sushi. The spicy salmon makisushi stood out. Yellow tail sashimi was also commendable. Blue Gardenia (nigrisushi) was named after the Blue Gardenia resturant where the sushi chef comes from. It was decent. The shrimp tempura could have been much better.
Any other sushi places that are recommendable? We actually were meant to be going to Samurai Blue but found it convinient to go to the rack instead.

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  1. b
    Bergerman RE: Uno May 12, 2004 11:35 AM

    Try  Koba's Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar (813) 258-3326
    2402 S. MacDill Ave.

    It's more like a neighborhood restaurant than a trendy spot. also, joto's on dale mabry, a few blocks south of kennnedy blvd.; haven't been in a while but it's been there for years. with all the new competition, it's amazing it's still there. also, check sushisociety.com for a pretty thorough list of tampa bay area restaurants...

    1. s
      sandra RE: Uno May 12, 2004 12:27 PM

      Koba's rocks...try the mahi mahi roll with tempura chips, eel and spicy sauces...yum!

      1. m
        Melissa RE: Uno Jul 16, 2004 11:19 AM

        If trendy sushi is what you want, this place isn't for you. But if you're willing to take a little drive, and want AWESOME sushi, Kazu's is the place. It's in New Port Richey off 19 (next to Target), and is a hole in the wall, barely air conditioned joint with so-so service. But Kazu, the head sushi chef, is the real deal. He has retired here in FL, but has been the personal chef to many VIP's around the world. The decor and drive may not be perfect, but you will not be disappointed with the food.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melissa
          bonnie RE: Melissa Mar 24, 2006 11:11 AM

          I live in New Port Richey, close to Kazu's. Me and my husband go there often. It does have awsome sushi and yes, the service could use some tweeking. All in all it is a good hole in the wall place. Which for me is great, No long lines and friendly service. We also love watching the japanese tv station he always has on. Try the eel, it's umm,umm, good.

        2. jme1beachbum RE: Uno Jan 9, 2007 12:38 AM

          Sushi Ren on Tampa road- endearing ambiance, excellent selection, and of course- great sushi! Volcano roll is really delicious as well as the rainbow roll and the spicy tuna has quite a kick! YUM! Its between McMullen Booth and US 19 on Tampa Road (Hillsborough) in a little plaza on the south side of the road just before the Circle K- sign simply says Japenese Restaraunt. PS- don't have holes in your sockls, lol!

          1. l
            laurie RE: Uno Jan 10, 2007 12:20 PM

            Kiku on Clearwater Beach. I was pleased to see that this fave venue of ours made Chris Sherman's Top 100 list of Tampa area restaurants.

            1. srcusa RE: Uno Jan 10, 2007 02:51 PM

              Sushi Alive on north dale mabry (northdale area) is a trendy new spot. Very nice decor and excellent menu. Have been a few times since they opened and not dissappointed yet. A few members of the family have gone vegeterian and there's still enough on the menu to satisfy them - wife raves over the crispy asparagus rolls. the service can be a bit hit-or-miss and tends to be a bit on the pricey side, but worth a try.

              5 Replies
              1. re: srcusa
                rikkikm RE: srcusa Jul 7, 2008 12:39 PM

                I have been disappointed with the service at Sushi Alive! that last two times I went. The first of these occasions I went solo and sat at the sushi bar. After waiting for an hour, I said I need it wrapped to go and they still kept me there another 15-20 minutes. I hadn't even ordered any appetizers that might cause them to "delay" slightly. Sushi should not take that long. Went again yesterday with a friend, sat for a solid 10 minutes before being asked for a drink order. While we waited about 40 minutes for our rolls, we had to work very hard to get the waitress's attention for drink refills. Multi-tasking did not seem to be a priority for her at all. A shame that I will be hesitant to return there because the sushi is very tasty.

                Someone recommended Zen in Westchase, but I've heard mixed reviews about it. Anyone been?

                1. re: rikkikm
                  gfr1111 RE: rikkikm Jul 12, 2008 05:12 PM

                  My girlfriend lives about a mile from Zen, located in the Westchase Village Shopping Center, just off of Linebaugh between Countryway and Sheldon. I think that the sushi is very good and fresh, with a lot of imaginative Western variations, as well as traditional sushi. The place is filled with young, hip people. (At least, I perceive it as that way, being 57 and not particularly young or hip, myself.) It stays open very late--on weekends until about 2:00 a.m., I think--at least, this was what a waiter told me when they first opened. it is often the only place open in the Westchase area late at night.

                  I also like most of the cooked food, which I would call eclectic Asian, ranging from Thai, to Malaysian, to Indian, to regular Chinese. After 10:00, they do a limited menu and somewhere around that time, they start offering half price appetizers.

                  I am less enthusiastic about the drinks situation. They emphasize the bar aspect of the place very much and yet, they charge very high prices for very skimpy drinks.--You know, Zen is the kind of place that gives you a teeny martini glass and then only fills it up about two thirds of the way. When I go there, I skip the (interesting) mixed drinks and wine and order beer. Otherwise, I leave angry, having felt ripped off.

                  I don't want to end on a negative note. The overall experience I've had at Zen has been quite positive and I intend to keep going back.

                  1. re: gfr1111
                    rhnault RE: gfr1111 Jul 14, 2008 01:53 PM

                    Their sushi is pretty good though I stay away from their entrees. I found them to be the "fusion" variety that made me feel ripped off and long for the real thing lol.

                    1. re: gfr1111
                      Jen Tkalec RE: gfr1111 Aug 20, 2009 07:53 PM

                      Finally tried Zen on recommendation of a friend. Loved the zen garden holes under the plexiglass but my enchantment ended there. Sorry, I can't get into bad service, not poor mind you, just bad. The sashimi was excellent the unagi and himachi were right on, they skipped our two specialty rolls, just ignored them actually. never delivered, never mentioned. They kept us there for over 2 hours and refilled our water once. We were pouring back the sake and would have ordered another bottle, if we could have found our waiter or if he had even offered, but now it just became a matter of principle... i'm more than happy to drop a chunk of change down for sushi or sashimi, or any equally fine fare, and i figure Zen lost about another $50 from our bill by the lack of service. Sorry, gfr111, I didn't attempt the martinis...but this experience begs the question... do you prefer mediocre food and great service? or great food and bad serivce? It's a question difficult enough for even the foodie bhuddas to ponder...
                      That was my first and last visit, I'll go back to Toki's on Dale Mabry. Sit at the bar and ask the chefs to make you something special, they specialize in creative off the menu and NEVER dissapoint.

                    2. re: rikkikm
                      jme1beachbum RE: rikkikm Aug 25, 2009 08:18 AM

                      Have been twice to Sushi Alive, very happy with the sushi itself, but agree service is a little slow. Once for luch at a table, was fine. The second time for dinner at the sushi bar. Lets say that the sushi came out PRIOR to our salads. And although they were very good house style ginger salads, I was shocked it took so long. The sushi bar itself was very effecient, it was more the waiter that was kinda spacey. I love their innovative menu tho so I will go again :)

                  2. j
                    Jessica82 RE: Uno Apr 6, 2008 07:42 PM

                    Could someone help me out? I see alot of reviews on here about the little japanese hole in the wall place called, sushi ren....the sign says "japanese" but I have a question...I frequent there ALOT i love their wasabi steak and their food and atmosphere...but when I called them a couple of months ago their numer was disconnected....then when i went there, they were closed for remodeling....to this day their number is still disconnected and i havent drove by to see if they have opened back up...does anyone know if they have re-opened or closed or know the status of the place or if they've relocated? Thank you so much!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jessica82
                      jme1beachbum RE: Jessica82 Aug 25, 2009 08:21 AM

                      Oh that stinks! I love sushi ren! Any updates on the place?

                    2. f
                      foodaddict7 RE: Uno Apr 9, 2008 09:21 AM

                      I love Sushi. But, it's hard to find really good Sushi in Tampa. And of course, most of your "Japanese" Sushi Restaurants are either owned by Koreans, Chinese, or Vietnamese. It's hard to find an actual Japanese owned sushi restaurant, unless you live in New York or California.
                      Orlando(Central Florida) seems to have a better selection of Sushi than Tampa.
                      If you guys are ever in Orlando...here are some suggestions.
                      AMURA, Seito Sushi, Mikado's, Kimono's, etc.

                      Cafe Japon at the International Plaza and Bay Street is o.k. Not the best, but o.k.

                      1. m
                        Mal Carne RE: Uno Apr 9, 2008 09:27 AM

                        I did a story a while back on the best sushi, asking everyone I knew. Hands down the winner was Ichiban by the USF campus. Of course, I had to go. It was AWESOME! The Spicy Tuna Rolls were amazing and the Lava rolls (part cooked, but hey) were lip smackin' good. Go early or make a reservation. They fill up fast.
                        The Urban Eater

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Mal Carne
                          maladrin RE: Mal Carne Apr 9, 2008 01:19 PM

                          I really do love Ichiban. I used to eat there so often I almost didn't need to give them an order. Very family-style, very friendly. Now that we live in Tampa Heights, we rarely get out there. After a HORRIBLE first impression at Samurai Blue, we've had good experiences since then. The convenience is paramount - we don't like to drive and it's the closest place. Yokho's used to be our spot, but fighting south Tampa traffic started to suck, not to mention they ditched our reservation on our anniversary one year when we were less than 5 minutes late (due to afformentioned craptastic traffic).

                          Did I mention I don't like to drive?

                        2. Blind Mind RE: Uno Apr 10, 2008 09:14 PM

                          Im a fan of The Rack. The Rack Rock roll is money and the lobster roll is killer too. Plus its always been busy when Ive gone.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Blind Mind
                            gfr1111 RE: Blind Mind Jul 12, 2008 05:15 PM

                            Yes, Blind Mind, and The Rack is one of the best deals for sushi around. Prices are relatively low and the quality of the sushi, surprisingly, since it is not really a sushi bar, is quite high!

                          2. z
                            zandyjor RE: Uno Apr 12, 2008 05:42 PM

                            If Clearwater is not too far a field for you, try Kaiko Sushi bar. Charlie is behind the Sushi bar assembling great creations.

                            Restausant is on south side of Enterprise, just off McMullen Booth Rd. and across from Northwood Plaza. 727 791-6640.

                            1. Mild Bill RE: Uno Jul 7, 2008 01:35 PM

                              Yup, Ichiban on Fowler Ave. near The University Mall is exceptional...

                              SATSUKI on Sheldon Road & Hillsborough Ave. has been pretty darn good too...
                              A small pretty place that no-one here ever mentions...
                              I thought I'd give them props... They're around the corner...

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Mild Bill
                                CFishman RE: Mild Bill Jul 7, 2008 01:44 PM

                                I realize that I am breaking the geographical boundaries but a colleague in St. Pete told me recently that Pacific Wave has $1 sushi on Thursday nights. Has anyone been there?

                                1. re: Mild Bill
                                  rhnault RE: Mild Bill Jul 7, 2008 01:52 PM

                                  we have been there once and it was good. Did you notice the Mexican place they are building next door where Beef's used to be?

                                  1. re: rhnault
                                    Mild Bill RE: rhnault Jul 7, 2008 05:58 PM

                                    I DID I DID notice the Mexican place that's on the way!!

                                    I was gonna take a photo and post here about it...
                                    Wouldn't it be incredible if it's great?

                                    I'm waitin'...

                                  2. re: Mild Bill
                                    rikkikm RE: Mild Bill Jul 12, 2008 12:00 PM

                                    Hi Mild Bill, I tried to call Satsuki with the number that Google gave me, and it says it's been disconnected. Are they still in operation or perhaps have a different name..?

                                    1. re: rikkikm
                                      Mild Bill RE: rikkikm Jul 12, 2008 12:35 PM

                                      Wow--- I'll check later on... I'll be going to Albertson's across the street...

                                      FYI, there's a new Mexican restaurant being put together in the corner of that center where Satsuki and the Asian grocery 'Kotobuki' is...

                                      1. re: rikkikm
                                        Mild Bill RE: rikkikm Jul 14, 2008 11:48 AM

                                        FLASH FLASH
                                        I just went by...
                                        Satsuki on Sheldon Road just off of Hillsborough Ave. is now 'Hayashi Sushi' 813-849-9665...

                                        1. re: Mild Bill
                                          rikkikm RE: Mild Bill Jul 15, 2008 04:44 AM

                                          Thank you Bill. Will give them a try.

                                    2. Manderley RE: Uno Jul 7, 2008 04:46 PM

                                      Sushi is my favorite food on earth. I've had some positively awful sushi since moving to Florida from NY. I was satisfied with Kazu in Port Richey until Ichiban on 54 opened...I think it's Trinity, not sure. At Duck Slough off 54. Lots of restaurants in that center, we go to Outback there and Crisper's and Bonefish, there's also a Cold Stone Creamery and a 5-Guys burger place we haven't tried yet. But Ichiban's sushi...ahhhhh, heaven. Absolutely heaven. Okay now my mouth is watering...the white tuna is so fresh it's still quivering...

                                      1. robiyaki RE: Uno Jul 8, 2008 05:36 PM

                                        Bonsia on Bearss Ave near USF or their other store on BBD and SR 56. They have good variety and great quality.

                                        1. Manderley RE: Uno Jul 14, 2008 05:50 PM

                                          OMG i'm in sushi heaven. i've been on a strict-strict-strict diet for a couple of months, preparing for my wedding (this coming friday!). but today was my shower at work...so as long as i had "cheated", well, let's go for the gusto. so we went out for sushi...and i've gotta say, i always love my fave sushi place, ichiban on 54 and duck slough, i think it's trinity...anyway...today blew my doors off. it was, hands down, the most exquisite roll i ever had. the taste explosion in my mouth was just....indescribable. Okay...,it was on the special's board, called a Stormin' Norman...and it had eel and mango on the inside...topped with spicy tuna, avocado and kiwi, topped with special sauce. Left just a little bit of "spicy" on my tongue. Oh seriously...oh boy. coupled with a few pieces of white tuna and yellowtail sashimi, and i was on cloud nine.

                                          Just thought I'd share. now i'm gonna go chill on the couch and digest...

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Manderley
                                            Mild Bill RE: Manderley Jul 14, 2008 06:37 PM

                                            Big giant congratulations on your wedding!

                                            At which of these places did you get this Stormin' Norman?

                                            All the best...

                                            1. re: Mild Bill
                                              Manderley RE: Mild Bill Jul 15, 2008 07:25 AM

                                              Thanks for the congrats and best wishes, Bill!

                                              that Stormin' Norman was (I'm salivating now) at Ichiban in the shops and restarants on 54 by Duck Slough. I think it's Trinity, the area. Might be eastern New Port Richey. Maybe Odessa? I'm really not so well versed in my new area (ask me about Manhattan, that I can tell ya) It's a little hidden gem, getting more and more busy each time I go...but I don't mind sharing my secret with fellow foodies!

                                          2. loveinmytummy RE: Uno Aug 28, 2008 09:40 AM

                                            I just have a meaningless correction but anyway... The sushi chef, whomever that may at the moment, had nothing to do with our former restaurant, Blue Gardenia, which was in the location which is now The Rack. One partner in The Rack was also a partner in Blue Gardenia and the roll, the Blue Gardenia, is an homage to our former restaurant. And I'm thrilled that the sushi is well liked! I will pass it on...

                                            1. Manderley RE: Uno Aug 29, 2008 09:36 AM

                                              Finally tried Samurai Blue. Not your usual sushi place! Big and noisy (I used to serenity when I partake!), and I'm really not a fan of the loud weird techno music; but the sushi was delish. Honey doesn't do sushi, he had a cooked chicken dish which was really blah and tasteless. He doesn't want to go back. :( There were some steak dishes on the menu so I'm trying to convince him to give it another shot.

                                              We loved Ichiban but since moving to Westchase, it's a bit of a hike over there to 54 and Duck Slough.

                                              I've heard Zen Bistro is good, have to try that one too.

                                              1. Manderley RE: Uno Sep 19, 2009 06:15 PM

                                                My new favorite; Mike's Susi & Sake on US Hwy 19 in Palm Harbor near Nebraska. Mike has a ton of devotees who have been following him for the past 20 years. he just opened Mike's at the current location a couple of months ago. Incredible sake menu, and fresh fresh fresh fish and incredible rolls. Mike is a blues enthusiast so the background music is incredible. His Poke is one of my favorites...tuna with a spicy sauce, scallions and macadamia nuts. And the uni is seriously the best i've ever had anywhere. Sweet shrimp with tempura fried heads...and his (salivating now) Wasabi Tobiko. Tobiko marinated in wasabi, a vibrant green in color, hoooooo boy. makes my eyes tear. This place is a gem. Sit at the sushi bar, all the "regulars" will share tastes of what they're eating and drinking. The enoki mushroom special nice and garlicky, reminds me of linguini with white clam sauce! and the desserts.....okay, that's it, gotta go tomorrow, i'm jonesin' bad. :)

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Manderley
                                                  kempshark RE: Manderley Oct 3, 2009 06:58 PM

                                                  The wife and I tried Ichiban at the shop and restaurants (yes, it is in Trinity) today. It was pretty good. Still, my favorite sushi place is in New Port Richey. It is Johnny's Sushi on Grand Blvd.. They don't quite have as nice presentation as the rolls we got at Ichiban, but the flavor is great. My favorite specialty roll at Johnny's right now is the Tropical King Crab roll. Nothing raw in it, but it is tempura fried King Crab, avacado, outside rolled with mango and pineapple with sweet sauce. I don't know if I remembered all the ingredients, but that is most of them. Everything is always fresh and tastes great. It is a small, family run place owned by Eun Bok (Johnny).


                                                  We also like the Sushi Spot on East Bay drive in Largo. They have a very large selection of specialty rolls (expensive but large),but I don't think the raw fish rivals the freshness at Johnny's.

                                                  1. re: kempshark
                                                    Manderley RE: kempshark Oct 3, 2009 09:54 PM

                                                    when we moved back to new port richey from tampa, we went back to ichiban. I used to love Ichiban...until i had a very bad experience there and will not ever go back. my friend ordered shrimp and ran to the bathroom to spit it out. i picked it up and sniffed it...it reeked of disinfectant. what a shame. their stormin' norman roll was such a treat. i go to Johnny's when i don't feel like making the drive down to Mike's. that tropical king crab roll sounds good, i'll try it next time. i really like his king crab volcano roll.

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