We ventured over to Saki Endless Sushi in Clearwater for dinner tonight. It’s located on Gulf to Bay & Hwy 19 behind the shopping center. I didn’t even realize there was a building back there. It’s a nice looking little restaurant and for $17.99 you can order endless appetizers, soup, salad, sushi, hibachi, and dessert. We had to roll ourselves out of there. You order as much or as little at a time, pacing yourself so everything doesn’t come out all at once. There is an additional charge for any remaining sushi, but we didn’t have any problem finishing off what we ordered.
For the first round, we got the Green Sarabay, Mexican, and Rainbow roll
The Green Sarabay had Spicy tuna crunch & tamago inside with salmon and avocado on top. I had to look up what tamago was. It’s egg. Loren said the tuna had a good spice level to it. I love anything covered in eel sauce and the Mexican roll and Rainbow roll were both fresh & tasty. Next round, we got the avocado salad which is basically their ginger salad with avocado on top, an order of salt & pepper calamari, salmon sashimi, flying fish roe, an Alaskan roll, and a Saki roll.
The salt & pepper calamari had a light batter and the salty taste we were looking for as well as a couple of deadly hot peppers on the plate that we both avoided. The Alaskan roll was salmon, cucumber & avocado and the Saki roll had shrimp tempura, cucumber, krab meat, mayo topped with avocado, shrimp, tobiko and eel sauce. All of it was tasty and as if that wasn’t enough, Loren decided to try the chicken hibachi, a spicy salmon roll, and I needed some gyoza.
The chicken in the hibachi dish was very tender. It also had mushrooms, onions, zucchini and broccoli. Loren commented that everything was cooked evenly unlike some of the hibachi restaurants we’ve been to where some veggies are overcooked and some undercooked. This was all perfectly done. You can also order rice & noodles to go along with it, but there was no way he’d have been able to eat it all. He had eaten half of the spicy salmon roll before I remembered to take a photo. The dumplings were very good. There was some hot pepper in the dipping sauce that caught me by surprise, but otherwise, they were perfectly cooked. Even though we were both stuffed at this point, we couldn’t leave without dessert.
There’s nothing quite like fresh, hot, sweet doughnuts. Yum! I think what impressed us the most was that everything was made & cooked to order. It was all hot and fresh when it got to the table. Our waitress was very attentive, filling drinks and as soon as we started to glance at the menu again, she’d be over to see what else we wanted to order. And here’s the kicker, with a drink, the total was $40. Had we ordered it all separately, it would have been over $75. We’ll definitely be back again.
Saki Endless Sushi
2643 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Loren wanted a Japanese hibachi dinner for his birthday so we drove over to Kuchi Sushi & Hibachi in Tampa. Being a Wednesday night, they only had two tables of diners and two hibachi chefs when we arrived. The manager actually asked us if we were in a hurry because they could cook the food in the back while the two chefs were busy. Instead we ordered some sushi to start off with and by the time the chefs were finished with the other tables, another family was seated with us so we got the full table side experience.
The soup came out first. It was typical mushroom broth and then they brought out the sushi.
The rainbow roll was very tasty. It’s one of our favorite rolls whenever we get sushi since it has tuna, salmon, and a whitefish. This was the thing that really stood out for us for the entire meal. Next up, salad and fire.
Our hibachi chef seemed to have the enthusiasm of a wet blanket. He was going through the motions but really didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. He was also really difficult to understand. He spoke softly and fast with a thick accent so most of the “jokes” he told went right by most of the table. I get that part of the show is to toss food for the people at the table to catch in their mouths, but when it’s very clear that you don’t want food tossed your way, I expect the chef to respect that instead of just tossing it anyway. Loren ordered the steak & shrimp and I ordered the filet & shrimp which was a few dollars more. There really wasn’t any noticeable difference in the meat because it and the shrimp were both overcooked. The shrimp was kind of tough. Loren also commented that the steak dipping sauce which is usually a tangy ginger type sauce was a lot sweeter than he’s had at other restaurants.
The dinner came with rice, veggies, and noodles, but we’ve definitely had better hibachi dinners at other restaurants. There was vanilla ice cream for dessert and even it was on the icy side. I like creamy ice cream, not ice cream filled with ice crystals.
Overall, there wasn’t anything about the experience that would make us want to go back. Total bill with a drink was $61.
Kuchi Sushi & Hibachi
9206 Anderson Rd
Tonight we went over to the Asian Pearl in Clearwater for dinner. This was our first visit and definitely not our last. The food was fresh and tasty from start to finish. We started off with the wonton soup for two.
It comes with 4 dumplings, but we’d already devoured two of them before I took the photo. The broth was light with a nice flavor. Perfect for a rainy Sunday night. The dumplings were homemade and filled with pork and shrimp. Next up was the salt and pepper calamari.
We both love calamari and order it in almost every restaurant we go to and this version was delicious. We’ve had salt & pepper calamari at other Chinese restaurants, but this one had the herbs and peppers in a tangy vinegar based sauce. It added a different dimension to the dish because not only did you get the saltiness, you also got a little sour that worked really well. Loren ordered the Kung Pao Chicken for his entree.
It came with green beans, mushrooms and onions in a spicy sauce. He really enjoyed it and had leftovers for the next day. I went for the orange chicken.
It was served with baby bok choy. The chicken was tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside with a sweet orange glaze. Very tasty. White rice was also included with both dishes and I also had leftovers. We decided to try the coconut milk balls as a dessert.
These were interesting. I actually thought they were going to be smaller and was surprised at how big they were. We ended up taking half of them home. It’s a crispy exterior surrounding a creamy custard inside. They’re actually on the appetizer menu, but they work really well as a dessert. For the ones I brought home, I dipped them in some melted chocolate and they were divine. Service was great, they kept drinks filled and plates cleared. Total bill with a drink was $49 and we’ll be back again.
2551 Drew St #104
We went over to the Thirsty Marlin in Palm Harbor for dinner tonight. Our experiences here have been hit or miss. From the food to the service, you never quite know what you’re going to get. The food tonight was good for the most part, but the service could have used some improvement. Loren got a salad & we started off with a Rainbow Roll.
The rainbow roll was tasty. It wasn’t rolled quite as tight as you get from most sushi restaurants, but the fish was fresh and the rice had a good consistency. It could have used a little more avocado on it though. For his entree, Loren got the blackened mahi sandwich.
He enjoyed it. The fish was perfectly cooked and the blackened seasoning had a bit of a kick to it. I went for the fried grouper sandwich.
I found the coating on the grouper to be way too thick & crunchy. It was hard to eat. I ended up pulling most of the coating off and just eating the fish which was tender and flaky.
Our waitress was friendly enough, but compared to the one waiting the table behind us, she just didn’t offer up the things I wanted to know. If there are specials, I expect to be asked if I want to hear them and at the end of the meal, I expect to be asked if I want dessert before the check is brought to the table. Total bill with a drink was $41.
1023 Florida Ave
Palm Harbor, FL
Surf Shack has become my go-to place for mac & cheese lately. The filet with mushrooms and onions is my favorite, but the spinach, bacon & goat cheese is pretty tasty too.
The filet is unbelievably tender and the addition of the crunchy haystack onions on top gives the dish that little bit of texture it needs. The pasta is perfectly cooked with a creamy Monterey jack & American cheese blend. While I’m going the decadent route, Loren leans toward their salads. This time he chose the chicken & walnut salad.
The chicken was nicely cooked and the mixture of ingredients gives you a bunch of different textures and flavors, from crunchy walnuts to tangy dried cranberries and creamy goat cheese. Then on occasion, we feel the need for something sweet… ok, on most occasions.
Their brownie sundae should really be served in a big bowl because it is messy! Vanilla ice cream, brownie pieces, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and whipped cream. We made a huge mess, but it was tasty. Total bill with a drink was $30.
Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen
12217 West Linebaugh Ave