Shiki Sushi Bar & Restaurant
1500 N Mcmullen Booth Rd Suite A-4
Clearwater, FL 33759
Shiki is located in an unassuming location; tucked away in a strip mall. To Shiki’s right is a Dollar Tree, and to the left is… well I can’t remember but there is an Ace Hardware and a Publix on the same lot. In essence, there is a lot of generic strip mall bullshit. Before walking into the restaurant for the first time I had a crippling desire to spray-paint ‘da’ preceeding Shiki, it just felt so right. I put my desctructive tendencies on hold to see what this joint offered.
When I walked into Shiki, the first thing I noticed was the complete lack of goofy shit on the walls. The place was austere and clean. There were a minimum of wall hangings and statuettes. You weren’t crushed under the swinging paws of 30 smiling cat statues or the gleeful gaze of 50 gilded buddhas peering over your shoulder at your food.
The sushi is made by two chefs who spit Nihongo (Japenese) back and forth in a quickfire. The lead chef is an older guy who has a glint in his eye that says, “I can cut the shit outta some fish.” Either that or a look of, “Sweet baby Ray my hands reek like a fish market! Yucky, Yucky, Yucky!”
After we sat down, menus were brought to us along with hot towels to wipe our hands (traditional practice prior to eating sushi/sashimi). Along with the towels was a peculiar concoction that is essentially cold and sweet ramens. The noodles were slightly al dente and delicious.
My old lady ordered edamame (baby soy bean sprouts). They were warm and lightly covered in salt, absolutely wonderful. Eating this edamame was like getting a fresh order of tender, hot, salty nuts at the ballpark. I could just order a big bowl of edamame from Shiki and eat that for my meal (maybe with a cold beer on the side and a game on the tv).
With our entrees we received miso soup and a salad dressed with ginger dressing.
I find something decidedly wonderful about “Asian salad dressing” (ginger dressing). It’s sweet, tangy, and always leaves me wanting more. The bright ginger flavor brings a unique element to the standard salad from a restaurant. The ginger flavor is complimented well by the miso.
Sia ordered the Chirashi Sushi Box. It came loaded with Sushi rice as well as a slew of fish, pickled veggies, and a nori ‘salad’. I can’t speak to how the dish tasted, but it looked delectable:
I ordered the Kaisendon. This isn’t a dish that a person new to Sushi should try unless they absolutely fell in love after their first visit/experience. Essentially it’s a bowl of sushi rice, raw fish, fresh vegetables (nori, ginger), pickled vegetables, and topped with sesame seeds. The textures available were amazing; in the same bite you could have fresh salmon and then a bit of cabbage that’s been treated to cumin. When you get the dish, you also receive a spicy sauce that you can add to to really marry all the flavors together. The sauce had sesame seed oil, wasabi, and chili powder. It really carried some kick that accentuated the existing flavors in the dish.
Shiki has been my best restaurant experience thus far in Tampa. They offer a wide variety of sushi rolls that start at $3.50 and can bump above $10.
In the end, I was extremely pleased with the experience I had at Shiki on two occasions. The sheer excellence of what I received made me forever curb my wanton desire to spray paint the joint, but in my heart this place will always be known as “Da-Shiki Sushi, home of Deliciousness.”
Rating: (An easy decision to rate this a 5 star experience)