Hot Tuna Brings Edible Art to Oldsmar
Celebrating a little over two years in the growing community of Oldsmar is Hot Tuna Sushi Bar & Grille. Self-described on the website as “your new favorite sushi bar in Tampa, Oldsmar, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, and all of Tampa Bay,” it doesn’t take a genius to understand why new customers become regulars who keep returning to Hot Tuna, located at 3689 Tampa Road.
Customer Larry Begood visits twice a week with his wife, Gwen who described Hot Tuna as “our neighborhood restaurant.” The Begoods discovered the restaurant last year and Larry summarized the reason in four simple words. “The food is good.”
Opened in May 2013 and patterned after the successful Sushi Alive, owned by a cousin in Carrollwood, Hot Tuna is a twist on a classic sushi bar. Conveniently located in the heart of Oldsmar, Hot Tuna offers an inviting, elegant atmosphere coupled with great customer service.
As you become a regular and you get to know owner Hanh Ho, Hanh will slowly pull you away from the classic everyday California roll and suggest some different epicurean sushi options. You don’t have to take her suggestions, but I highly recommend you do!
With the rotating talent of eight gifted sushi chefs, Hot Tuna creates more than food – rather edible works of art in overly satisfying portions. A delectable selection of only the highest quality sushi, sashimi, and other delicacies arrive at your table almost too pretty to eat. Almost. “Sushi is an easy food to make beautiful, with its many colors and varieties,” said Hanh. “It’s an exciting type of food.”
Even the presentations of their soup dishes are beautiful. The Spicy Seafood Soup, a light clear broth filled with shrimp, egg, fish, crab and spinach with chili-sesame oil floating on top arrived in a large white bowl, steaming hot and beckoning the accompanying spoon to bring soup to mouth. Hanh has designated this soup as the perfect comfort food as cooler fall days attempt to approach in the holiday-laden October, November and December.
A great recommendation – the appetizer T-N-T Mussels featured six tasty mussels nestled in a bed of seaweed, carrot ribbons, and greens, dressed with robust wasabi and color-matching green and orange roe.
On its writable order form, Hot Tuna divides its rolls into cooked and raw – making the color-coding easy for a patron to pick his meal – white is raw; grey is cooked.
The raw Rock n’ Rolla roll came with enough food to share. Eight delicious pieces of sushi were delivered to the table plump with spicy tuna, krab delight, and cucumber, topped with tempura whitefish, scallion, eel sauce and colorful orange roe served on a rectangular plate dressed with more of the luscious eel sauce.
Be prepared for a completely unique experience enjoying an unusual combination of ingredients. You would not expect mango and asparagus to be a match made in heaven, but when added to tempura shrimp, cream cheese, sweet potato fries, avocado, dusted with tempura chips and glazed in a coconut marmalade, for whatever magic the sushi masters do behind the counter, it simply works. Order the Hawaii Five- O and expect to be wowed. Another great option is the cooked Neptune roll, which paired tempura shrimp and krab delight with asparagus. Topped with more shrimp, avocado, crispy onion, eel sauce and a flavorful butter sauce called Dynamite Butter, this roll is an exquisite dish offering eight pieces for you to savor.
And Hanh does not discourage sharing. She welcomes you to share to sample the variety of options Hot Tuna offers. If you want to try a variation of a roll, she has no problem substituting one item for another or even removing an item altogether. The affordable, family-owned, upscale Sushi bar and grille caters not only to sushi connoisseurs, but to novices, vegetarians, those with gluten intolerance and even those who don’t eat sushi. “Our menu has a lot of variety,” explained Hanh. “We can customize to our customer’s tastes.”
Freshness is always a guarantee at Hot Tuna – they use only the best, ingredients and Fish is delivered twice a week to ensure the highest quality taste and customer satisfaction. Hanh prides herself on quality product and product consistency day in and day out.
From sushi and sashimi to lobster, filet mignon, pork chops and Korean Style Short Ribs, the menu offers something for every palette. It even offers exotic options like raw quail egg or uni; yet the most unconventional sushi selection has to be its dessert sushi.
Hot Tuna also offers incredible specials throughout the week and an evening Happy Hour. Select classic rolls are available Monday through Friday from 5pm to 7pm for just $4.00 and Nigiri is $1.00 for a single piece, while Sashimi is just $2.00 for two pieces. At 8pm through close Monday through Friday, appetizers are available at 50% off, with 2 for 1 Saketinis, Sake Sangria, and House Wines just $2, $2 for domestic and $3 for Import Beers.
As the packed restaurant attests, Hot Tuna is a gem in Oldsmar and definitely worth the trip, no matter which direction you are traveling from.
Hot Tuna Sushi Bar & Grille is located at 3689 Tampa Road in Oldsmar. Hours are Mon – Thurs 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. –10 p.m.; from 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. –10:30 p.m. on Fri.; from 12 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. on Sat.; and 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Sun. For more information, call (813) 818- TUNA (8862) or to view a full menu, visit www.HotTunaSushi.com.