Bonsai Sushi & Japanese Restaurant
2826 E Bearss Ave
Tampa, FL 33613
Tempura Bagel Roll
Fresh Salmon Sashimi
I've only eaten here twice so far and one of those times was take-out. I haven't been there for lunch yet, and am wondering if it gets crowded and whether they have any good specials or not.
The other night we had a huge take order for 6 people. They said it would took 20 minutes which I thought was an incredibly optimistic estimate, and it indeed did take much longer. If they had done it in 20 minutes, they would have been the most amazingly fast sushi chefs ever.
Looking for the equivalent to Ichiban's Mike Roll (a spicy tuna roll), I decided to try the Kamikaze Roll and it has become my new Bonsai Sushi favorite. If you like spicy tuny, you'll love this roll. And its not too expensive either, at least relatively speaking compared to the other prices of their items (they are a bit on the expensive side). I think I prefer my raw tuna to be spicy, as the chili sauce takes some of the fishiness away and makes it extra delicious.
I had some Fresh Salmon Sashimi. This is one thing I try everywhere as I love raw salmon. To those who are not aware, if you order it as "Sashimi" you get no rice with it but you normally get more fish with it. If you order it as "Sushi" you get the pieces of raw fish on top of balls of rice. Some people like it with the rice, personally I prefer sashimi.
The Mexican was good, as was the Bagel Tempura (which Jessica really liked). We also tried the "Candy Cane" which I think was a seasonal roll. It had crap special on the inside and raw pieces of red and white tuna on the outside. It had an interesting texture (probably due to the crab special) and I did enjoy the tuna on the outside. I also tried a piece of the Caterpillar; I think one piece was not enough to really taste it, but it did not offend my taste buds in any way.
Bonsai is an interesting place. It lacks the traditional feel of most sushi restaurants. It feels more like an American restaurant, which serves sushi. In fact, they serve their sushi on regular white dinner plates. Aside from the American feel, the food is very good. They have some standard rolls of course, but it seems like they specialize in specialty rolls. Take for example the candy cane roll I ordered. Similar to the caterpillar roll it came covered in raw red and white fish pieces. The roll was okay as far as taste, but it really did look like a candy cane.
Let us move on..
Generally, I am not a fan of cream cheese in any of my rolls but Bonsai's tempura bagel roll is very good. Even though the outside is tempura they manage to keep the salmon inside raw.... combined with a dash of eel sauce, it is delicious.
I tried a Tampa roll and was a bit disappointed. The fish was very good, but instead of onion ( which I am used to) they used a lot of cucumber. I find cucumber to be a less-than thrilling filler and Bonsai seems to use it for many rolls.
My favorite thing about Bonsai is their presentation of the actual sushi. They make everything look good, which encourages me to try new things (like the octopus my friend ordered - which was pretty good). Their miso soup lacks tofu and is a little to sweet for my taste, but I would order it again if I was craving miso.
The service has always been pretty good for me personally; however, I have seen other tables get some pretty bad service. I think the place is a little inefficient as far as the set up.
Overall... I give Bonsai a 7 out of a 10 and I look forward to trying new and exciting rolls.