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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

Sushi Sunday


We were in the mood for sushi tonight, so we headed over to Ban Thai on McMullen Booth.  Even on a Sunday night, the restaurant was pretty busy, but we were able to get a booth without a wait.

Since it was pretty darn cold out, we both got some soup; Loren got the chicken and rice, I got the wonton.

Both of them were tasty.  Mine had a lot of sprouts in it that I ate around, but the wontons were very flavorful.

Did we order too much sushi?  Of course we did.

This behemoth is the lobster roll.  In the rolls, there’s tempura lobster, avocado, lettuce, and cucumber.  There’s also half a lobster tail on top.  I love this roll.  It’s enough for a meal in itself.  It also has some mayo and eel sauce on it, so Loren doesn’t like it all that much, but that just means more for me. 

We also got a Mexican roll, a California roll, and a Rainbow roll, plus some salmon.  The spicy mayo on the Mexican roll was just a bit too spicy for me this time.  The California roll was very fresh and flavorful.  Loren even commented on how we get that roll at most sushi places and that it’s so refreshing when it really stands out.  The Rainbow roll was also very good.  The salmon and tuna were very fresh. 

Total bill was $56.  I do think the sushi is a bit more expensive here, but it’s usually well worth it.

Ban Thai Restaurant
2519 McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL
727-724-2992

Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value3/5
4.3/5
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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi
  • There are two rolls on the specials board at Kaiko that we order every time we eat here, the Super Crunchy Roll and the Scott Roll.  It’s the balance of textures in the Super Crunchy Roll that make it one of my favorites.  Tempura fried on the outside, a scallop salad and avacado on the inside.  It’s just yummy.  

    The Mexican Roll was ok this time, but I thought the shrimp was a little overcooked.  We also got a California roll, an Arizona Roll and some salmon. 

    The prices at Kaiko are very reasonable.  Total bill was $41 for 5 rolls, two pieces of salmon and a drink.

    Kaiko Japanese Restaurant
    2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL
    (727) 791-6640

    Kaiko Sushi Bar & Japanese on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value5/5
    4.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Sushi
  • Slow


    On our quest to try every Thai restaurant around, we ended up at Wung Thai for dinner tonight.  They weren’t very busy, yet the service was incredibly slow.  Our waitress was very nice, but just didn’t seem to prioritize very well.  She was clearing tables while we waited to place our order. 

    We started out with some crab rangoons.

    They were interesting.  I think a better name for them would be curry puffs though because there wasn’t any crab in them.  Granted, most crab rangoons have non-existent crab in them, but these were much more curry flavored than anything else.

    Loren ordered a bowl of the chicken rice soup and the waitress brought one for me as well even though I hadn’t ordered it.  Guess she didn’t want me sitting there watching him eat soup.

    I ordered sushi for dinner.  A rainbow roll, scallop roll, Mexican roll, and some salmon.

    The scallop roll was spicy.  I hate it when the menu doesn’t indicate that a roll is going to be spicy.  The Mexican roll was covered in eel sauce I think.  It was sweet.  I didn’t mind it, but it did make the roll a little soggy.  My biggest issue with the Mexican roll though, was that two of the rolls had pieces of the tail in it.  Not sticking up out of the roll, there was also one of those, but actually within the roll, so I ended up biting into crunchy, inedible pieces of the tail.  Not good eats. 

    Loren ordered the ginger pork.

    He said it was ok, but that he’d had better elsewhere.  It came to the table without a serving spoon, so he ended up having to pour it on the plate with rice.  It’s just these little details that end up bugging you about a restaurant.  There wasn’t anything that stood out about this place that would make us want to go back.  Our total bill was $46.

    Wung Thai
    5545 Roosevelt Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-330-7788

    Wung Thai on Urbanspoon

    Food2/5
    Service2/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    2.3/5
  • 1 Comment
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi, Thai
  • I really do like the sushi at YoYo Sushi in Oldsmar, but every time we eat there, I feel blinded by the lights above the tables.  They either need to have some sort of diffused bulb in them or placed at a different height.  It makes an otherwise enjoyable meal, just a bit less relaxing. 

    As for the food though, it doesn’t disappoint.

    We ordered the Rainbow roll, the Jessica Roll, the Washington roll, spicy tuna tempura roll, and some salmon nigiri.  The Rainbow roll is definitely my favorite.  I find the salmon here to be some of the best around. 

    We also got the calamari tempura.

    It was very tasty, though there wasn’t much of it for the price.  The tempura batter was very good. 

    Total bill was $57.  I do find the prices here to be higher than a lot of the other sushi places around, but both the salmon and tuna have always been wonderful.

    YoYo Sushi
    300 State St E, #110
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-814-0216

    Yoyo Sushi on Urbanspoon

    Food4/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.3/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Sushi