The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

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In our ongoing quest to try all sushi restaurants around, we headed over to Zen Bistro in Westchase for dinner.  Parking was a bit of a nightmare.  There are a bunch of restaurants in the same plaza and not nearly enough parking.  Note to self, don’t even try to go here on the weekend.

I had some very mixed feelings on the atmosphere in the restaurant.  The lights were dim, they had a neat looking bamboo wall and some glass enclosed Zen sand gardens in the floor that gave you vertigo to walk over them.  The temperature in the restaurant was too cold.  I was shivering through most of the meal.  What turned us off the most though was the pounding techno music playing in the background.  For a place called Zen Bistro, I would have expected something a little more soothing.

Our food took quite a while to come out, but overall the sushi was very good.  We got some salmon nigiri and a Tao roll.

I think the Tao roll was both our favorite.  It was baked scallop over snow crab with avocado, cucumber and masago.  It was a little bit spicy, but had a wonderful texture and flavor.  The salmon was very fresh and tasty too.

We also got a Rainbow Roll, a Mexican Roll, a California Roll, and a Zen Crunch Roll.

We liked them all except for the Zen Crunch roll.  That one didn’t do much for either of us.  It had yellowtail, sesame aioli, and tempura onion and was served with garlic ponzu sauce.  The tempura onion was the part that really didn’t work.  The shrimp in the Mexican roll was cooked perfectly.  You know it’s good when Loren eats some of it.  And for dessert, we had to try the Ying Yang.

It was a chocolate and vanilla mousse shooter.  The waitress said it was enough for two, but I could have eaten another one without any hesitation at all.  The chocolate was dark and rich and the vanilla and whipped cream added a nice balance to it.   Total bill including an iced tea was $52.

Zen Bistro
9620 W Linebaugh
Tampa, FL
813-792-8665

Zen Bistro on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere2/5
Value3/5
3.3/5

You gotta hate it when your eyes are bigger than your stomach.  We went over to Chico’s Wood Fired Grill for lunch and even as the words “whole sandwich” came out of my mouth, I knew I should have just gotten a half sandwich.  The sandwich in question is the Latin BBQ Pork sandwich.

Granted, there’s probably more bread then meat on it, but it was still pretty tasty.  The bread was soft and the pork had a sweet mango bbq sauce on it plus fried onions.  It was really good.  The fries were crispy and tasty as well.

Loren ordered the chicken ranchero tacos with a side salad.

He really liked the tacos.  The chicken was seasoned well and with guacamole, pico de gallo and black beans on it, he was a happy camper.  Total lunch ran us $21.

Chico’s Wood Fired Grill
12217 W Linebaugh Ave
Tampa, FL
813-814-2023

Chicos Woodfired Grill on Urbanspoon

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5