Dave & Buster's

Dave & Buster’s arcade coming to Brandon

Popular game arcade and sports bar, Dave & Buster’s, is making plans to come to Brandon after years of speculation of when they would arrive in the Tampa Bay market. The 40,000 square-foot facility features a restaurant and 412 parking spots.

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The restaurant serves American food fare including burgers, ribs, steak, seafood, sandwiches, and salads. Alcohol options includes wine, bottled beer, local beer, and spirits.

Let’s hope they bring the new Dance Dance Revolution over to the Brandon location (cue: 90’s and early 2000’s memories).

Major local competitor GameTime just finished a remodeling worth $1 million in Ybor City that includes high-end modern materials and furnishings, 65 TV’s, and new attractions and games. Time will tell if Dave & Buster’s has any impact on their business.

The greater Brandon area has been rapidly building new apartment complexes and home projects keeping in line with all the new business coming to the area with TopGolf and Bass Pro Shops already established in the area. In addition, this fall Goodrich Quality Theaters will open a multiplex in Gibsonton and Xscape Theatres will open in Riverview on the corner of Progress Blvd. and I-75 soon as well. Previously the only option for Brandon residents was AMC Regency 20.

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Izakaya Japanese pub ‘Noble Rice’ now open

Tampa residents can enjoy a whole new experience with the soft opening of Noble Rice, an izakaya or Japanese style pub in South Tampa on Platt Street. These pubs normally serve Japanese appetizers and beer/sake wine to customers in an intimate setting used for socializing or meetings.

The restaurant is aiming for a traditional Japanese environment and menu with some inspiration from the south. Head Chef and Co-Owner, Eric Fralick, feels “southern comfort food and Japanese comfort food are so compatible, they were meant to be together”.

Fusion dishes include Sake Ribs utilizing Japanese sake to kick up a southern favorite and Tan Tan Men Wings inspired by buffalo wings. Many of the traditional dishes also incorporate fusion elements into them.

Traditional Japanese izakaya finds include yakitori (meat and vegetable skewers), takoyaki (octopus balls), gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), yamakake (grated yam), and a number of nigiri/sushi options. Ramen lovers will also find a variety of Shoyu ramen soups (soy-sauce base).

It wouldn’t be a true izakaya if we were not also discussing the drink selections. Sake lovers can find a wide-selection of rice wine. Noble Rice serves a Japanese distilled spirit, called shochu, which is derived from a variety of ingredients including sweet potato, barley, buckwheat, and sugar cane. Popular local craft beer will also be available on tap.

Here is a current list of beer/wine (7/21/16):

Shochu

  • Satsuma Shiranami – Sweet Potato
  • Hakutake Shiro Kome -Rice
  • Chiyonosono 8,000 Generation – Rice
  • Kintaro – Roasted Barley

Sake

  • Ama No To Heavens Door
  • Junmai
  • Kikusui Blue Junmai
  • Southern Beauty
  • Born Gold Konteki Pearls of Simplicity
  • Tozai Snow Maiden Nigori
  • Hiko’s Reserve Junmai
  • Eiko Fuji BanRyu
  • Sword of the Sun

Wine

  • Cabernet Savignon – Grayson Cellars
  • Pinot Noir – Block Nine
  • Chardonnay -Annabella
  • Sparkling – Francois Montand Brut

Beer on Tap (rotating to local companies)

  • Big Storm – Wavemaker
  • Coppertail – Free Dive
  • Coppertail – Unholy Tripple
  • 3 Daughters- Beach Blonde
  • Darwin- Parata Pils

Bottled Beer

  • Duchesse de Bourgogne
  • Nest Red Rice Ale
  • Seadog Blue Paw
  • Stella Artois
  • Woodchuck Granny Smith Cider
  • Motorworks – V Twin

Here are some photos via Noble Rice Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NobleRiceCo/

Yakitori

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Blood Orange Ramen

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Noble Rice. 807 W Platt St, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 284-7423 noblericeco.com

Bokuchoi Ramen launched – first Japanese ramen restaurant in Tampa Bay

My good friend in Tampa informed me that a ramen restaurant opened in August and she was surprised at how great it tasted.  As you know, I had some great ramen here in Seoul at Gaya-Gaya and South Korea has no short supply of ramen shops. The idea of a ramen restaurant in Tampa interests me. I hope this small operation can find its place in our great city of Tampa. I investigated and learned about the restaurant owner and his plans.

You can read the article on Creative Loafinghttp://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2011/10/11/bokuchoi-ramen-restaurateur-brings-first-japanese-ramen-restaurant-to-tampa

Check out Bokuchoi Ramen on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BokuchoiRamen

Mema’s Alaskan Tacos closing shop, last day to visit October 14th

Mema’s Alaskan Tacos, a popular taco eatery in Ybor City that opened shop in 2004, is closing down and having their closing bash Friday, October 14th, at 4:00PM. There will be a limited menu with tacos, nachos, burritos, and beer. They will stay open until they run out of food and beer. Restaurateur Sean Godin’s grandmother, Mema, learned how to make their tacos in Alaska during the 1950s.

Mema’s Facebook page reads:

“To all of our loyal customers.I want to thank you for the good times. Our closing is an unfortunate result of many things, most of all the deadstill economy and rising prices. Rather than sacrifice quality and service, the decision was to close the doors. So, thank you Tampa, for everything.”

I personally was only able to visit Mema’s Alaskan Tacos once during my many years of living in Tampa, but the experience was a positive one. I still remember the great taste of their chorizo taco and the refried beans. For many years I remember reading the raving reviews online (over 100 on Yelp) and always being curious about the late-night taco shop in Ybor City. Mema’s Alaskan Tacos will be missed and I am sad I will not be able to have their tacos one last time  before they close shop.

In Memory of Lisa Tian, Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa restaurant owner

I stumbled upon Joy of Tokyo in New Tampa one day in January of this year when a friend and I were heading to SoHo Sushi North and found it closed at 2PM. We decided to try a new restaurant we had seen on Bruce B. Downs by Acropolis, Joy of Tokyo. Once inside we had a great meal and the owner, Lisa (Lixin) Tian, came and sat with us. We talked for quite some time about her new business and how much I liked the food. She told me she moved all the way from Ohio down to Tampa to support her son attending USF and had successful businesses in Indiana and Ohio. I gave her some suggestions about using social media and setting up a website and she took my suggestions.

The next time I visited for lunch the owner and I talked about her new website and Facebook fan page. She told me her son who attends USF made the accounts for her since she wasn’t too familiar with how to use the internet. We laughed and after another great lunch I decided I wanted to schedule a sushi social with the organization I started at USF, The Japanese Club at USF. She was happy to set it up and I talked with her for about thirty minutes over the phone, she said she was happy to work with the USF community and would plan special discounts for my members and work with us however best she could.

The sushi social had a decent turnout for being scheduled during the day and the owner prepared everything and was completely hospitable to us. The next time I would interact with Joy of Tokyo would be at a Sushi Workshop organized by USF organizations Sigma Lambda Beta and Asian Students in America (A.S.i.A.). The employees from Joy of Tokyo came to our school and explained to students how to make certain sushi rolls. It was clear that Lisa was a smart businesswoman who was open-minded and happy to be a part of the USF community.

Unfortunately, in late May 2011 – I heard that Lisa Tian had been hospitalized after being severely beaten by her husband, Chunping Lin, and Lisa  suffered severe bleeding from the brain and a broken wrist in a case of domestic violence. Chunping a six-foot tall, 160 pound man, also attacked his 10-year old son who was defending his mother and caused a laceration of the son’s finger with broken glass. Lisa became comatose at St. Joseph’s  Hospital and after two months of the restaurant being closed down, I heard that she died a few days ago. Her husband was being charged with attempted murder, domestic violence, and child abuse according to article released in June. I am unaware of his current criminal charges.

During the week that Lisa became hospitalized a positive article was written about her business by a local newsletter. I am deeply saddened that her business never had the chance to reach success in the Tampa Bay area and that a local community leader has been lost in such tragic circumstances. The restaurant was hardly at it’s half-year point. My condolences go out to her children who must be struggling through such a difficult time. We have lost a pioneer in New Tampa and a local friend. Rest in Peace.

2nd Yummy House location opens on Hillsborough Avenue and reflecting on the original

Update: Since writing this I have visited the new Yummy House location on Hillsborough Avenue and my experience wasn’t so hot. Read about it here: https://carloseats.com/2011/07/02/new-yummy-house-on-hillsborough-avenue-first-impression-bleak/

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It’s been over a year since I wrote my first review of Yummy House. Yesterday, Yummy House opened their planned 2nd establishment on Hillsborough Avenue, originally slated for an April opening. Yummy House is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, but I have rarely covered it on this blog. It has been the location of graduation parties, going away parties, and friendly gatherings throughout the last few years. The flavors are hard to come by in Tampa Bay. I wasn’t privileged enough to try real Chinese food in San Francisco during my 9 years living there and came to hate the cuisine until I finally tried Yummy House. So THIS is Chinese food is what crossed my mind during my first visit.

Yummy House has been in the public eye for quite some time and this has led to quite the struggle for diners to secure a seat. I normally visit during non-peak hours, but those who come in during peak hours sometimes wait hours for a table and the demand became so great that Yummy House stopped accepting to-go orders. Their kitchen operates at max capacity and this has ultimately led to Mr. Zhao opening a new establishment on Hillsborough. Hopefully this will slow down the crowds and allow Yummy House to meet their demand of hungry customers and alleviate the kitchen and servers some. Most articles have mentioned an introduction of seafood and dim sum at the new establishment as well, something many diners are looking forward to.

I am planning on visiting their new location located at 2620 E. Hillsborough Avenue in Seminole Heights soon. I would like to take this blog to reflect on all the great food I have had at the original location Waters Avenue in case any readers of this blog have been unlucky enough to never have heard of Yummy House.

The Salt & Pepper Calamari is one of the main things people love about Yummy House. It is simply mouth-watering and it is normal for a few friends to order two to three orders of this dish during a family-style dinner. It is that good. The only calamari that has impressed me the way this dish did is the calamari at Roy’s, but it is a completely different type of batter and flavor so in a way they don’t compare. One mention of the Salt & Pepper Calamari at Yummy House and I start contemplating a trip there.

The Roast Duck Dried Grape Fried Rice is my favorite rice of all time.The grapes give the rice a sweet taste and the duck add moisture. I can take a whole order to myself and be perfectly content with just their rice. A visit to Yummy House feels incomplete without this entree.

I love their Crabmeat Fish Maw soup. Filled with tasty seafood and hearty, Yummy House does soup right. Normally the only soups I enjoy are thick soups, such as lobster bisque and clam chowder, but this soup is fantastic. The bowl is huge and there has barely been an instance where we ran out during our meal.

Observe the difference between a cup of soup for serving and the bowl size.

The Honey Walnut Shrimp is fantastic. Sweet and savory. It’s hard to have more than one because once a few people at the  table taste it, they will be vying for the rest. Nevertheless, I still love this dish. The walnuts are perfect with the large pieces of shrimp.

The Honey Pepper Steak is also excellent. The sauce it comes in goes great with everything and we practically wanted to lick the plate because it was just that good. These are just a few of the dishes that I love at Yummy House and have tried in the past few years. There are still many things I haven’t tried and I generally feel safe trying anything on their menu.

Ah, Memories at Yummy House. Your blogger is definitely ready to go out and try the new Yummy House.

Yummy House on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Yummy House

Cuisine: Chinese

Neighborhood: Carrollwood

Address: 2202 West Waters Avenue Tampa, FL 33604

Phone Number: (813) 915-2828

Yamato: June 1/2 Off Wine Promotion

Yamato Japanese Steakhouse located in the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel is currently offering a wine promotion for the month of June. Everything is $5 a glass, half-off their normal price.

Some of the red wines available include:

Swanson Merlot

Penfolds “Thomas Hyland” Shiraz

Four Vines “Maverick” Zinfandel

Some of the white wines available include:

St. Francis Chardonnay

Kenwood White Zinfandel

Pouilly-Fuissé White Burgundy

Checkout my review of Yamato for more on their sushi and steakhouse food.

Restaurant Name: Yamato Japanese Steakhouse

Cuisine: Japanese

Address: 28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100 Wesley Chapel, FL 33543

Neighborhood: New Tampa

Phone Number: (813) 907-8701