People keep talking about Yume Sushi. Back in 2009, The Herald Tribune noted the restaurant's "loyal following," and they lauded its sushi for being "consistently excellent." That was high praise, especially considering the restaurant's sushi menu has more than 80 choices for rolls and sashimi—from a tuna-lover roll to the ever-popular lobster roll. The positive reviews weren't a fleeting occurrence, which meant the restaurant would have to hire more tiny captains to pilot its sushi boats. In 2013, Yume was voted one of the best sushi restaurants by Sarasota Magazine, and it took top prize for "Best Local Sushi Sarasota" during The Herald Tribune's Readers' Choice competition in 2014.
The sushi bar has certainly earned its prominent place along a blue-tinted wall within Yume Sushi's dining room. But away from this casual space lies the other side to Yume Sushi's culinary coin. In the kitchen, chefs stir-fry pork loin with fresh ginger and brew tempura udon soup with thick noodles. A selection of hot and cold sakes completes the Japanese dining experience.
Tokyo Bay Mang Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse spans a spectrum of cooking ideologies, simultaneously folding fresh, raw fish into sushi rolls, searing hibachi items in a scorching blaze, and rounding out the menu with pan-Asian entrees and Thai dishes. Chefs fire up three front-and-center teppanyaki tables, where flaming plumes obscure steak, shrimp, and scallops. The King lobster sushi roll sports dual tempura and fried lobster tails swept up in the flavors of faux crab, asparagus, avocado, and eel sauce. Basil sprinkles thai curries and piping-hot seafood, served behind a façade that mimics the tiered roofs in Thailand that protect possessions from pad thai monsoons.
A combination of savory, sweet, and spicy aromas greets diners when they enter The Queen and I Restaurant, serving as an aromatic prelude to the menu's extensive selection of fragrantly seasoned cuisine. The cooks can stir-fry chicken, pork, or scallops and moonlight-ripened vegetables in a number of sauces, imbuing their entrees with flavors of ginger, basil, or fiery chili paste.
Featuring taupe-hued walls and white tablecloths, the dining room has walls with framed artwork and a painted mural of Thai statues that lend a more authentic trans-Pacific feel than a flipbook made entirely of travel brochures.
The seasoned chefs of Ai-Mei Thai Sakura transport taste buds to the Far East with a well-stocked menu of classic Thai dishes pleasantly mingling with creative sushi rolls and fresh Japanese favorites, earning them several “Best of Tampa Bay” titles from Tampa Bay Magazine. Taste buds can wade into one of seven curries ($10.95+) in a rainbow of colors or dive into five traditional noodle dishes, such as peanut-laden pad thai ($10.95+) and savory pad se ew, staying afloat atop a choice of proteins ranging from juicy beef and pork to sea-fresh scallops and shrimp ($8.95+). Sushi selections include the Dream roll stuffed with spicy mayo and crawfish under a tempura-eel cap ($12.95), and the Tornado, a deep-fried cyclone of tuna, crabmeat, and cream cheese ($11.95). Adventurous eaters can gnaw on the garlicky deep-fried frog legs ($15.95) or the restaurant’s table legs that the chef suggests consuming without soy sauce.
Since first opening Thai Udon Cafe, Adam Satinsky and Khwan Sawai's expertise at creating Thai and Japanese cuisine has only grown. So the duo opened Benja, which expands upon the original café's selection by adding 25 sushi creations. Standouts include the namesake Benja roll, a medley of fried fish, cream cheese, and asparagus. Hungrier customers can opt for the eatery's massive sushi boats, which feed up to four guests with sushi, sashimi, and edible oars.
Beyond sushi, the chefs whip up classic Japanese and Thai entrees, from teriyaki lobster tails to tofu curry. To complement feasts, bartenders pour wine, imported brews, and hot sakes. Meals unfold in a dining room that mixes traditional Asian artwork with contemporary furniture and neon-blue lighting.
The chefs at Pacific Rim specialize in a fusion of Japanese and Thai cuisines and have left no stone unturned. The menu is massive?even at lunch, patrons have options that span from a sashimi ceviche to wok entrees to siam noodles. The dinner menu is even longer. It introduces grilled entrees, such as large scallops basted with curry sauce, and daily-special curries with a choice of proteins. However, Pacific Rim is most popular for its sushi, a dizzying selection of 100 creations that include sashimi, maki, and hand rolls. There are plenty of specialty rolls, of course, though guests are given the option to create their own signature roll from the sushi chefs' ingredients or whatever raw fish they have in their purse.