Dinner @ I Ai Sushi

My Japanese friend from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Hiroki-san, and I went to dinner a few weeks back at I Ai Sushi. I wanted to take him somewhere where he could look at a Japanese menu and maybe have something a little closer to home for an affordable price. No other place but I Ai Sushi came to my mind.

I was a little apprehensive because sometimes service there is lackluster, but service was actually pretty good during this visit with no complaints that I can think of at all. There weren’t many people since we came on a weeknight as well so our food came quickly.


Hiroki-san, the special guest in this review.

Miso Soup
Full of plenty of ingredients, a hearty miso soup ($2).

The first thing we ordered that came out was the Kaki Fry ($4.50). Great quality as always…Hiroki-san accidentally put it into his mouth when it came out hot and when the juices inside came out he burned himself pretty bad. >_> However, the Kaki Fry was excellent and had great texture and flavor as usual.

Tempura-Don
Hiroki’s tempura-don looked appetizing. I’d like to try it on future visits. Hiroki noted that in Japan many of the vegetables that were made into tempura in his batch were not common to have put into tempura.

Sushi!

I ordered two sushi rolls. Their Alaskan Roll ($4.25), pictured on the top, was phenomenal, their Salmon is always really fresh and just hits the spot. The price is good for that roll as well, which can sometimes climb over $5.50 at some restaurants. I was feeling experimental and gave the❤ Ai Ai Roll ($5), pictured on the bottom, a shot and boy was I glad I did! It tasted great, really fresh and flavorful. It contains crab, shrimp, mayo, and roe…a nice combo indeed.

2 Thumbs Up
Hiroki-san gave I Ai Sushi two thumbs up and I couldn’t agree more.

I Ai Sushi on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: I Ai Sushi
Address: 3691 W Waters Ave Tampa, FL 33614
Phone Number: (813) 932-1111
Hours: Mon-Sat 11:30 am -10 pm

Sawatdee Thai Cuisine

I took a new friend Yong Hoon to try Thai food for his first time this past week at Sawatdee, a USF-area restaurant located only a short drive down from the university down on 56th Street.  The ambiance is similar to many small Thai restaurants: decorated lavishly, quiet, and a nice place to have a conversation with a friend or two. Lunch specials there come with three courses: soup, entree, and dessert.

The chicken vegetable soup was satisfying, but lacked any real substance to it…something to just pass the time. We both ordered Chicken Pad Thai (only $6.95 for lunch) with my friend ordering a spicy version of the entree. I also ordered a Thai Tea because my friend has never had one and that is something I think everyone should experience at least once.

Your food critic =P

Yong Hoon trying Thai food for the first time.

Chicken Pad Thai…just looking at this picture makes me hungry.

The orders came out quick and although they accidentally gave me a mildly spicy version of Pad Thai, the waitress quickly resolved the issue when I brought the matter to her attention. I have to say that a spicy and non-spicy Pad Thai are almost completely different meals even though it has most of the same ingredients. My friend and I both enjoyed our meals, the noodles were filling and there was a nice balance in extra ingredients added in, it wasn’t overdone like in some other restaurants.

The small free dessert they pass out to end the meals gives the meal a nice ending and they have a rewards card for customers who pay in cash.

Thai mission complete!

Sawatdee Thai Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Sawatdee Thai Cuisine

Address: 10938 N. 56th Street Tampa, FL 33617

Phone #: (813) 985-2071

Website: http://www.sawatdeethaitampa.com/