Both Oishi Japanese Restaurant's locations showcase Asian-inspired décor, from the ceiling covered in bamboo accents to the marble-topped sushi bar framed by a glass case of seafood. Chefs entertain lunch and dinner diners with "fire shows" at hibachi grills where they sear vegetables, seafood, meat, and wrinkled shirts. Diners also cozy up to unfinished wood tables and booths as servers deliver spreads of Japanese steakhouse cuisine, fresh sushi rolls, and desserts.
Deciding to call a restaurant and bar “Cheap” seems like a bold move, but it might not mean what you think it means. The owners, who had gained insight into guests’ needs through their other spots—Hyde Park Café, Whiskey Park, and the Kennedy—wanted to name this new eatery something that would serve as a daily reminder of their mission: to always exceed customers’ expectations. And, aside from the prices, cheap is one thing they plan to never be called. Housed inside a brick building, Cheap blends fun, eclectic decor throughout, including low-hanging birdcage lamps over tabletops surrounded by hot-pink chairs. Likewise, the menus—four of them, specifically, along with drink and dessert lists—create unexpected culinary fusions by combining a range of international flavors. The signature Cheap menu mingles classic sushi rolls with tuna tacos and fresh ceviche, a tapas-inspired menu fuses empanadas and meat skewers with hearty rib-eye steaks, and menus of sliders and pizzas bring the flavor smorgasbord home again.
The diners can feel the heat of the charcoal grill, its sweltering vapor wafting sweet and smoky aromas from the marinated short-ribs sizzling at the center of the table. Surrounding the grill like spectators at a sports match, more than a dozen small bowls display a colorful assemblage of sautéed, blanched, and pickled veggies, each awaiting their fate to crown a slice of seared meat or mingle with a pillow of white rice. This is Korean-style barbecue, Rice Restaurant & Market’s specialty. Alongside the DIY feasts, chefs work in the kitchen to impart a Korean edge on stir-fry, stews, and noodle dishes, forging each morsel from scratch and often with ingredients grown in the owner's garden, according to the Tampa Bay Times. As tableside grills crackle in the rear of the restaurant, suffusive lighting finds its way beneath the awnings of private booths. A libation expert pours cocktails, sake, and traditional soju from behind a full bar, and on special nights, a late-night menu replenishes energy levels in between spins on the dance floor, where dancers fuel moves both with the beats of a live DJ and by convincing feet that the dance floor is a Korean grill.
Sushi Tsu's talented hibachi chefs create savory masterpieces in a jaw-dropping tornado of blades on the restaurant's grill tables, while skilled sushi rollers craft novel seafood bites. The hibachi menu bursts with Eastern appetizers, including gyoza fried dumplings ($6) and tempura-battered strips of alligator tail ($8). Showboating chefs, each of whom have apprenticed for at least two years under the owner's masterful eye, forge beef teriyaki ($17) and succulent Teppanyaki scallops ($20.50), exciting adrenaline and salivary glands like a ruptured nacho-cheese pipeline. Sushi Tsu’s avant-garde rice rollers eschew humdrum rolls in favor of the eclectic mexican roll ($6) and the lightning roll, an electrifying amalgam of baked salmon skin, wasabi, and fresh veggies ($7). Diners can also grease their fast-working mouthparts with a bubbly selection of Japanese beers ($4+).
Named one of the city’s best family-friendly restaurants, Sushi Rock Grill specializes in Pan-Asian entrees and creative sushi rolls made from fresh, premium seafood. Bypass cross-planetary hole digs and emerge onto the flavorful Silk Road with the expansive dinner menu featuring pad thai with chicken ($14), Japanese-inspired teriyaki filet mignon ($19), or saigon noodles, a shrimp-studded pile of vermicelli rice noodles, fresh herbs, and peanuts covered in a spicy french-vietnamese sauce ($16). The sushi menu offers creative starters, such as a spicy tuna martini, a mixture of spicy tuna, daikon radish, avocado, and ponzu sauce shaken, not stirred, in honor of legendary man of mystery Barry Bonds ($11.95). Placate palates with one of the restaurant’s innovative sushi rolls, such as the Tampa, a tubular testament to lightly battered grouper, mayo, and white onion ($7.95), or the Eskimo, fresh salmon and cream cheese wrapped in snapper, baked, and served with teriyaki after the waiter rubs noses with the chef ($9.95).
Shogun Sushi's Manhattan-trained chef rolls a bounty of eye-catching sushi rolls alongside the menu's eclectic selection of classic Japanese entrees. Appetizers include beef negimaki ($6.25), thin slices of teriyaki-broiled beef that wrap themselves around zesty scallions to disguise themselves as sushi rolls in an attempt to fool steak-knife search parties. Fried asparagus, bacon, and tuna entwine within the Longly Angel roll ($13.95), crowned with three kinds of fresh fish and a rainbow of colorful tobiko, and the Russian Roulette roll ($11.95) protects its tender interior of spicy tuna, masago, and cucumber with a vivid shield of tuna and spicy mayo. The kitchen also whips up a range of grilled and golden-fried delights, including teriyaki, tempura, and curry dishes ($10.95–$18.95), which complement uncooked edibles like a midnight french-fry soirée in the grocery store produce aisle.
Yuki Japanese Steakhouse satisfies wanderlustful taste buds with a tantalizing spread of authentic international fare in a family-friendly dining environment. Set sail toward appetizer island with the seaweed salad ($5) or head straight for dinner bay with the beef katsu, a breaded culet fried to a crunchy crisp and served with rice and vegetables ($17.95). Fresh sushi options include the Mexican roll, curled up with fried shrimp, smelt, avocado and mayo ($5.50), and the Rainbow roll, which cleverly combines the flavors of seven different types of fish with refracted ultraviolet light ($8.50). Harrowing hungers find a three-course solution with the filet mignon and scallops-teppan dinner, served with soup, salad, veggies, and rice ($21.95).