Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen – now open in Riverview

I ordered takeout from the relatively new Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen in Riverview. When the Great Recession hit business almost hit a halt in this area. It is nice to see the area growing again now that the economy is in recovery. Normally I am a little cautious to order Thai takeout because my history with it has been pretty awful. Normally my Pad Thai is dry and sauceless by the time it gets home. I am happy to say that this was not the case with Lemon Grass!

The Chicken Pad Thai tasted as fresh as if I was in the restaurant for dinner and it was priced reasonably as well at around $10 if I remember correctly. The color of the noodles shows there was plenty of sauce and there was plenty of chicken mixed in. They were also quite generous with the noodles, normally unheard of in my past with Thai takeout orders.

The lady at the register was friendly as well. She informed me that they have a lunch buffet for under $10. Thai lunch buffet within minutes of my house!? You know I am going back. It is good to have a Thai restaurant closer to home (although I do still love Ploy Thai and Jasmine Thai). I’m excited for growth in Riverview.🙂

Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Name: Lemon Grass Thai Kitchen

Cuisine: Thai

Neighborhood: Riverview

Address: 11106 Bloomingdale Ave. Riverview, FL 33578

Phone Number: (813) 654-0671

Website: http://www.lemongrassbestthai.biz

Cappy’s Pizzeria opens in Riverview

Cappy’s Pizzeria opened last week in Riverview where Cuenelli’s once stood and I finally got a chance to try earlier today after eagerly awaiting it’s arrival this past year. Cappy’s is only open from 5-9PM Sunday-Thursday and 5-10PM Saturday and Sundays, so keep that in mind when planning your pizza trip. I ordered over the phone and it took only 20 minutes for them to prepare my large New York style pepperoni pizza ($12). Cappy’s is cash-only, and while some people complain about this lack of convenience, I can’t blame them for running a simple business model with the expensive fees that credit card companies charge small businesses. The inside of the restaurant looks great, they really added their own touch to the establishment. The pizza was nice and hot and still warm when I made it back home.

The slices were huge. Plenty of pepperoni, which was savory with each bite. The crust had a smoked taste and the cheese was rubbery as New York-style pizza normally is. The crust was harder than most pizzas made in Tampa Bay, which might turn-off people who haven’t tried their pizza before. After my first bite I quickly got used to the different taste and texture of the pizza. The pizza was a little greasy, but not so much that it would drench the pizza.  There wasn’t much sauce on the pizza, as usual for this style. It tasted fresh and I was full with just a few slices. I want to try Cappy’s Chicago-style pizza, but I need to have a few more diners with me for that because I can’t imagine eating a loaded Chicago pizza alone.

Cappy’s Pizzeria coming to Brandon/Riverview is a great new development for local business in the area and I doubt I’ll be ordering Domino’s or Pizza Hut anytime soon. Lookout there is a new pizza choice in town.

Cappy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Cappy’s Pizzeria

Cuisine: Pizza

Address: 6260 Winthrop Town Center Ave Riverview, FL 33578

Neighborhood: Riverview

Phone Number: (813) 662-4811

Website: http://www.cappyspizzaonline.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cappys-Pizza/175562309134957

Sushi Ninja

Sushi Ninja, located in the Bell Shoals shopping plaza off Bloomingdale Avenue in Brandon, is a quiet little sushi restaurant and bar that we decided to visit yesterday. The restaurant was empty at around 3pm and we made our way to the bar. All you could hear was water falling from their little waterfall. The restaurant itself was full of wooden booths made to look traditionally Japanese and decorations can be found all over, giving the restaurant a relaxing vibe to it.

At the bar my sister and I sat and had lunch. The owner made our sushi rolls, she was friendly and we found out that we actually know some of the same people. My sister ordered salmon skin with cream cheese and I ordered a California Roll ($4.00) with miso soup and ginger salad. The ginger salad was fantastic, savored it down to the very last bite. The miso soup was also great, enough flavor without tasting too powerful.

Ginger salad and Miso Soup.

When we got our rolls though, that’s when I decided this place is pretty awesome. The rolls were eight pieces and large. They weren’t cheap with the masago or the avocado (one of my sushi pet peeves). There was plenty of fish and it tasted fresh and flavorful. I ate my California Roll so fast that I ended up decided to order another one because it was just that good.  My sisters salmon and cream cheese was also great, though I am not a fan of cream cheese. The service was quick and painless and my sister and I were pretty much the driving voices there. They have a selection of Japanese sakes and Korean liquors as well, though we decided against it today and there were a wide variety of rolls on the menu.

You can see in this photo they were not cheap with any ingredients.

Prices for regular rolls were average, but many of the specials were over $12 or even $15 dollars. We did not make in time for their lunch special, but may have to try that out someday. The food here was unexpectedly great (it’s been a few years since I last ate here) and I would return again in the future.

Sushi Ninja on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Sushi Ninja

Cuisine: Sushi

Address: 887 E Bloomingdale Avenue Brandon, FL 33511

Neighborhood: Brandon

Phone Number: (813) 662-3377

The Italian Kitchen Cafe

My family and I ate at the Italian Kitchen and Cafe last weekend. A small restaurant located on 301 in in the Sweet Bay Shopping Plaza in Riverview. Looking at the plaza its in you wouldn’t expect to find such a nice place, but once you walk into the restaurant you feel like you’ve entered a different world. They have used mirrors, painting, and decorations, such as columns to make the place feel fancy and elegant. The actual restaurant is not very big, but has plenty of space for dates and a special area for large parties as well. Prices were between Olive Garden and Carrabba pricing. My Fettuccine Alfredo was only $9.99. Other entrees ranged from $10-$20.

They were quick to seat us and to take our orders and within a few minutes brought our server brought us some bread.

The bread tasted great! What was better than that was the dipping sauce they gave with it that made me want it more and more throughout my dinner. A mixture of olive oil and seasonings.

My Mom ordered their Chicken Piccata ($14.99). I sampled it and it tasted a little too salty with a pungent taste. The texture of the chicken was made right, but the sauce tasted a little off. The pasta was average.

The entree that stole the show was my Step-Father’s Sinful Chicken Parmesan ($14.99).  A few bites of that and we all ended up wishing we ordered that instead. The marinara sauce and mozzarella tasted great and the chicken was crispy. The spaghetti pasta was the best out of the three types we had. In a future visit I think we would all choose the Sinful Chicken Parmesan as our meal choice.

My entree was a standard Fettuccine Alfredo ($9.99). I chose this entree because it is my favorite type of pasta and I wanted to try one of the classics here before venturing into other types of food. They accidentally made the wrong type of pasta at first, but quickly corrected their error when it came out covered in broccoli and mushrooms. The Fettuccine Alfredo was average at best. The pasta was a little too thin for my liking and almost felt like Linguine (my least favorite pasta type) and the Alfredo sauce was nowhere near creamy enough and it ended up tasted watery.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with my meal and would have preferred to have had this at Carrabba’s or the Olive Garden instead. Next time I would definitely order their Sinful Chicken Parmesan. Service was good and the waitress was very attentive to us. I would return again in the future.

Italian Kitchen & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: The Italian Kitchen Cafe

Cuisine: Italian

Address: 6915 US Highway 301 S Riverview, FL 33569

Neighborhood: Riverview

Phone Number: (813) 671-0953

Websitehttp://italiankitchencafe.com/

Samurai Sushi (Samurai Japanese Cuisine)

My most recent review is about Samurai Sushi, a small Japanese restaurant in Riverview that has fresh sushi for cheap prices. This is one place I high-recommend you check out. The menu is diverse, service is great, and there’s so much to say about it, a short summary will not do the place justice so please check out my review on Examiner at: http://www.examiner.com/asian-restaurants-in-tampa-bay/samurai-sushi-affordable-and-flavorful-sushi-review

Pacific Grill: An Asian Fusion Experience in Brandon


Spicy Pork Bulgogi

I recently went to Pacific Grill with some friends. I was pleasantly surprised with the authenticity of their food and the low prices for Korean cuisine. You can read more about my experience on my Creative Loafing article here: http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2010/10/07/pacific-grill-brandons-asian-bistro-experience/

Pacific Grill on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Name: Pacific Grill
Address: 3452 Lithia Pinecrest Rd Valrico, FL 33596-6301
Phone Number: (813) 657-8744
Website: http://www.pacificgrillvalrico.com/home/

See more pictures below:

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Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

This past weekend my friend and I were hungry and trying to think of a place to have dinner at. We wanted a place that had some good-quality food, affordable prices, and something almost home-cooked. We are some picky eaters, but after some thinking I finally thought of a spot we could eat at: Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken.

A small restaurant located next to Green Iguana in Riverview in the Winthrop Plaza, Cuenelli’s has been around for some time now but is still unknown to many Tampa Bay residents. Offering many Peruvian specialties at affordable prices (usually under $10) on their menu, such as Papa la Huancaina (a Peruvian salad of boiled yellow potatoes in a spicy cream sauce), Lomo Saltado (grilled sirloin with onions and tomatoes, served with rice and french fries), and Bisteck a lo Pobre (Palomilla steak served with rice, beans, fried egg, french fries, and plaintains). They also have several desserts, such as Flan, Tres Leches, Churros, and various specialties during the weekend.

When my friend and I arrived we were able to choose where we wanted to sit. The server was patient as I explained the menu to my friend and we ordered Inca Cola (a lemon verbana-flavored soda) to drink. Another popular drink at Cuenelli’s and many Peruvian restaurants is Chicha (a purple corn soft drink which people rave about it though I have never personally tried it). My friend finally decided to order their Bisteck a lo Pobre ($10.95) and I ordered their Chicken Sandwich ($6.99). The wait time was pretty short for our meals.

My friend’s Bisteck a lo Pobre looked so good that I had to make sure I showed my readers. The palomilla steak is pretty big as you can see. He had a hard time eating it by himself and there have been plenty of times when I have ordered this and not been able to finish my food. My friend ate his food one thing at a time, but I believe that the best way to eat this entree is to break the yolk and mix everything together. There have been days when I was feeling sick and this meal made me feel way better and energized.

My Chicken Sandwich was fantastic. The chicken was tender and easy to chew, it just melted in my mouth. The lettuce, tomatoes, and onions inside added even more flavor to a well seasoned chicken. I added a little extra mayonnaise to make it a little more moist. Although this photograph may make it seem like the sandwich was small, it was loaded with chicken and I actually was only able to finish half of this sandwich despite how hungry I was. The french fries taste homemade (without too much salt and a nice soft interior) and are an excellent complement to many of the choices at Cuenelli’s.

Service was great and the waiter made sure to constantly check on our drinks and to ask us how our meal was. My friend was really impressed with the food and will be coming back soon. I know I will.

Cuenelli's Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken on Urbanspoon

Restaurant name: Cuenelli’s Peruvian Style Rotisserie Chicken

Address: 6260 Winthrop Town Center Ave. Riverview, FL 33578

Phone #: (813)681-7773

Hours: Monday closed, Tuesday through Saturday 11am to 9pm, Sunday 12pm-8pm

Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/cuenellis-peruvian-style-rotisserie-chicken-riverview