The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Kuzina Mediterranean Grill in Oldsmar has now been added to the list of restaurants we won’t be going back to.  This was one of the worst dining experiences we’ve had in a while.  We ate here in January and though that visit wasn’t perfect, we chalked it up to it being a new restaurant.  Now three months later, there’s no excuse for the service and food we were served.

It started out ok.  They bring you hummus and bread.

Loren liked the hummus.  It’s very garlicy.  The bread is really good.  This time they served it warm, which was nice.  

They changed their menu quite a bit in 3 months.  The dishes we had last time weren’t even on the menu any longer.  Not that we’d have ordered them again anyway. 

We decided to try a different appetizer this time instead of ordering calamari.

We ordered the rosemary tuna kebabs.  This wasn’t great.  The tuna was overcooked and not very fresh.  If I had to guess, I’d say it had been frozen at some point.  The rosemary was a bit strong and the caper dipping sauce was very salty.

Right after our appetizer came out, our waiter brought our salads. 

You get two sides with your entree and a salad was one of the choices.  However, I probably wouldn’t have ordered the salad as one of my sides if our waiter had actually known what sides were available.  When I asked, he said a couple of things, but then later in the evening I overhead another waiter give the list of sides and it had quite a few more choices. 

The salad was ok, but came with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing which I’m not a big fan.  It also came with slices of a really strong parmesean cheese.

At this point, Loren’s drink is mostly gone and we hadn’t seen our waiter in quite a while.  Someone else cleared away the empty plates and bread basket that our waiter left on the table.

Finally our entrees arrived.  When the plates were put on the table, both Loren & I looked at each, crinkled our noses, and asked, “What’s that smell?”, and not in a good way. 

I had ordered the salmon.  At first I thought maybe it was the relish on the side of the plate, but it actually had a sweet and savory smell to it.  And then I thought perhaps it was the wild rice.  But, no, it was the salmon.  The last thing you want is for your fish to have a very distinct and unappetizing aroma.  I tried a couple of bites, and that was it.  It wasn’t fresh, it was overcooked, and was just overall bad.   The rice wasn’t all that great either.  Now that I look at the photo, the kitchen staff obviously wasn’t all that concerned with overall appearance either.  Just look at the oil smears on the side of the plate.

Loren ordered a steak with rice (again, because we didn’t know about the other side dishes).

He said the steak itself was ok, except for the very cold herbed butter on top.  Our waiter stopped by our table one time and when I asked him to refill our drinks he looked at me as though I had sprouted a second head.  I didn’t think it was an odd request seeing as our glasses had been rather empty for a while.

Now, when you leave an entire plate of food, you expect your waiter to do certain things.  One, ask if you’d like a to-go box and if you decline to perhaps ask if everything was ok.  When I said we were done, he just scooped up the plates and brought the check.  So, I didn’t even bother to mention how bad the food was since I figured I would have gotten that same blank stare.  Instead we got our check, (luckily we had a $25 off coupon), and got out of there for $22.  We won’t be going back.

And then to top it off, on the way to the car, we had to walk by one of the kitchen staff smoking out in front of the restaurant.  Obviously, they just don’t get it.  It was a bad experience all the way around.  

Kuzina Mediterranean Grill & Bar
3980 Tampa Road
Oldsmar, FL
813-749-7550

CLOSED

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Yami Yami


Sushi sounded good for dinner tonight, so we decided to try out Yuki Japanese Steakhouse in Clearwater.   We had another Restaurant.com $25 off coupon, so had to spend $50 on dinner.

Loren started out with a side salad with ginger dressing and we also got a shrimp tempura appetizer.

I was a little surprised that it was only 2 pieces of shrimp and the rest was vegetables.  Loren liked the tempura asparagus. 

Their sushi prices are very reasonable.  We ordered a few too many rolls, mostly because simple math sometimes eludes me. 

The roll at the top is a Yami Yami roll.  This was Loren’s favorite.  I don’t even remember what kind of fish was in it, maybe tuna, but it’s rolled, then fried, then rolled again, so it has a crispy and soft texture.  Then it was topped with crab and a spicy sauce.  It was very interesting and very tasty.

We also got a Tampa roll, which is fried grouper and a Mexican roll, which is fried shrimp.

But wait, there’s more.  We got a California roll, a spicy salmon roll, a rainbow roll, a Yuki roll, and two pieces of salmon and yellow tail.  The salmon was absolutely incredible.  It had an almost buttery flavor and texture.  The Yuki roll is a California roll wrapped in salmon and was delicious.  My favorite was the rainbow roll, 7 different types of fish plus avacado. 

Total bill after the coupon and tip was $55, plus we have a bunch of sushi for later.  All of the sushi was good.  This is definitely a place we’d go back to.

Yuki Japanese Steakhouse
13505 Icot Blvd
Clearwater, FL
727-532-9559

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi
  • Super Crunchy


    We headed over to Kaiko Japanese Restaurant on McMullen Booth for some sushi tonight.  This is our favorite sushi restaurant.  Everything is always fresh and prepared just right and Charlie’s quite the character.

    Tonight we got a Mexican roll, a California roll, a Scott roll (Loren’s favorite) and some salmon plus my all time favorite, the Super Crunchy roll.

    The Super Crunchy is a scallop roll that’s fried like tempura.  The combination of flavors and textures is amazing.   This roll alone would keep me coming back here. 

    Kaiko is a small restaurant and it’s almost always busy.  The regulars come in and Charlie greets them with a big hello and then he whips up some amazing sushi.  $37 for 4 rolls and 4 pieces of salmon.

    Kaiko Japanese Restaurant
    2475 N McMullen Booth Rd
    Clearwater, FL

    Kaiko Sushi Bar & Japanese on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi
  • Tonight seemed like  a good night to head over to Ban Thai on McMullen Booth.  I couldn’t believe we hadn’t been there yet this year.  Seems like we were just there a few weeks ago, but the last time we were there was probably sometime in December. 

    We like Ban Thai.  It’s a cozy little restaurant with a nice ambiance and decor.  Even the wait staff is dressed in shimmering gold gowns.  

    Loren ordered his usual, ginger chicken

    He said it was tasty.  Fresh veggies and lots of ginger, but a mild flavor.  He was happy.  For me, it’s all about the sushi.

    Ban Thai is the first place I ever tried sushi.  I was completely against it,  the thought of raw fish just didn’t seem right to me at the time. But the first roll I had was a Tampa roll, so it had fried fish in it.  Now, here we are quite a few years later and whenever there’s sushi on the menu, I have to try it.

    Tonight, I got another Tampa roll for old times sake, though they changed it from grouper to snapper.  It had a nice crunch to it.  Mexican rolls are still my favorite, so I had to get one of those.  Fried shrimp and avacado just have such a wonderful flavor/texture combination together. I also tried an Arizona roll which was yellow tail and cucumber.  It was ok, but the cucumber overwhelmed the tuna.  And just for fun a couple of pieces of salmon.  Loren got a spicy tuna garlic roll.  He said it had waves of flavor to it.  The tuna, the garlic, then a bit of heat at the end. 

    We didn’t see too much of our waiter, but since the entire waitstaff looks out for the tables, it wasn’t much of an issue.  There was always someone checking to see if our drinks were full.  Total for dinner was $45.  Not too bad really for 4 maki rolls, 2 pieces of sushi, and an entree.

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

    Ban Thai on Urbanspoon

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi, Thai
  • We got up early this morning to go see “Alice in Wonderland” in IMAX 3D.  The movie was pretty good, but the Disney cartoon is still my favorite.

    After the movie we headed to downtown Safety Harbor for lunch, but forgot that the seafood festival was going on.  Parking looked like a nightmare, so instead we headed over to Fish Tail Willy’s near Countryside mall. 

    We ordered some calamari for an appetizer, but our waitress showed up with our entrees instead.  She forgot to put in our appetizer order, but offered to put in the order at no charge, so we went ahead and got it.

    We should have just gone without.  The calamari was tough.  The coating was nice and crunchy, but the calamari itself was chewy and overcooked.  It came with three dipping sauces,  Tomato Honey, Mango Jalapeno, and Spicey Aioli.  I liked the tomato honey one best.

    Loren ordered the Salmon Cake Sandwich and a salad. 

    It’s salmon folded with capers, zucchini and squash with a dill lime mayo.  It was crispy and had an unusual taste to it.  He enjoyed it. 

    I ordered a grouper sandwich and fries.

    The fries were really good and had a nice crunch to them.  The sandwich, however, wasn’t that great.  Even though I order fried grouper, I still expect it to not be greasy.  The bottom bun was soggy.  I also don’t like it when they place a very strong onion on top of the lettuce and tomato.  Even though I would have liked to put the lettuce and tomato on my sandwich, all I would have tasted was onion.

    We’ve eaten here before and it’s been good, but overall today, it was a very dissatisfying lunch for me.  For $25, I’m sure I could have had a better experience elsewhere.

    Fish Tail Willy’s
    2543 Countryside Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-791-4270

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  • Filed under: Clearwater, Seafood