I have been craving sushi the last few months and with the craziness of the holidays, I was not able to dine out as often as normal. With the new year upon us and resolutions in full stride, two that are at the top of my list are to try more new restaurants and sticking to a money-saving plan. Over the holidays, a friend was stocking up on gifts by purchasing them through the local savings sites and I decided to give it a whirl. I bought a few things from Crowd Savings such as a tablet for my son and a set of photo lenses for my iPhone. Delighted with the products and the money I saved, I have since purchased vouchers for social events and restaurants. Last week while browsing through the site, I spotted a deal for Kelp Sushi Joint in South Tampa and was intrigued by their menu. What really grabbed my attention is their philosophy, Make it local, make it fresh, and make it sustainable. Those words were magic to my ears and I dined at Kelp this weekend.
Located at 3401 West Bay to Bay Blvd. in the heart of Palma Ceia, Kelp is a small place with big charm. My friend and I arrived about 6pm on a Friday night and snagged the only available table. We were warmly greeted by our server and made to feel right at home. Whenever I dine at a new place, I am always looking around the room and observing guests. I do this for two reasons. 1. I work in the industry and its in my blood to observe all aspects of service, ambiance and decor, and 2. I learn a lot about a place by the expressions on guest faces. What I saw at Kelp was nothing but huge smiles and a room filled with happiness and laughter. The sense of community and local dining was truly felt inside the restaurant. As we looked over the menu, I could see people lining up outside to wait for a table and several people coming it to pick-up take out. I knew I was in for a delicious experience. It was a chilly night in Tampa so I began with the classic Miso Soup made with tofu, seaweed and green onion. Piping hot, it warmed me up and set the tone for my evening of culinary delights.
As it came time to order sushi rolls, I was having a hard time making a choice. My friend went with their Sunken Island which consists of tempura shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, pineapple and sweet chili sauce. I, of course, had to steal one and loved the sweetness combined with the slight crunchiness of the tempura shrimp. When it comes to sushi, I rarely order anything tempura, so this was a nice treat.
As I mentioned before, I was having the hardest time deciding on what to order and finally decided on their Desert Oasis which combines seared tuna, krab salad, mango and Thai chili sauce. Fresh tuna and the mixture of sweet and heat was what I had been craving and I ate every single piece. I wanted to order more but felt bad about the people anxiously waiting for a table. On my next visit, I will explore more of their menu.
Always one with a sweet tooth, I could not resist their Tempura Green Tea Cheesecake. Fried to perfection, the tempura beautifully encompassed the warm cheesecake inside and not only did I eat my piece, I ate half of my friend’s as well. Needless to say, I spent the next morning at the gym.
Kelp exceeded my expectations and I am anxious to return. In fact, I have lunch plans to dine there this week. Do not miss the opportunity to purchase a voucher from Crowd Savings before they disappear. Grab one by clicking here.
**Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Kelp by Crowd Savings and I received a voucher to apply towards my meal. The opinions shared are my own.[?]