For everyone (including yours truly) who has been waiting for more mom-&-pop-owned restaurants in our area, a few newcomers have debuted over the past 30 days and all are worth checking out.
Hungry Crab Juicy Seafood
Although I’m (sadly) allergic to more than half of the items on its menu, the second location of Hungry Crab Juicy Seafood Restaurant & Bar has opened in the former location of Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (and several other eateries) at 19601 BBD Blvd. at the front of the Pebble Creek Collection.
Thankfully, I was able to try at least one of Hungry Crab’s make-your-own seafood boils — with 1/2-lb. of snow crab legs and 1/2-lb. of small clams (two types of shellfish that I don’t get allergic reactions to) in garlic butter. The seafood boils come with red potatoes and corn on the cob with your choice of flavor (I chose garlic butter only) and they all arrive at your table still tied up in a boil-in bag.
There also are fried starters like calamari and crab cakes and fried baskets, none of which I could try because all of the fried options are made in the same fryers. There’s also Hungry Crab festival options which are huge platters of everything from blue and dungeness crabs to lobster tail, green and black mussels and more.
For more info, call (813) 388-2862 or visit “Hungry-Crab-Juicy-Seafood-Bar-Tampa-FL” on Facebook.
Tessa’s Sweet Kafe
Although we told you it was supposed to be open as our May 31 issue hit mailboxes, it was another week or more before we could sample the delicious, homemade Korean food, desserts and boba teas at Tessa’s Sweet Kafe, now open in the former location of Gu Wei Noodle House (and Sukhothai before that) at 18101 Highwoods Preserve Pkwy., Suite 100, across the street from the AMC 20 Movie Theater.
Tessa’s is owned and operated by Jennifer and Rory Kempink and features Jennifer’s takes on authentic Korean fare like kimbaps (Korean-style cooked sushi with beef bulgogi, pork katsu and other fillings), fried rice with your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp, egg or veggie, dumplings, coconut milk (which was awesome, by the way) and black tiger milk boba teas, strawberry and several other flavors of Korean bingsoo desserts and what may now be my favorite bone-in fried chicken in our area (middle photo, also by Charmaine George).
Although you also can get boneless or bone-in fried chicken with your choice of sauces already on the chicken, try the bone-in “Gary’s Way,” with the sauce on the side. The chicken is so crispy and crunchy outside, but moist and tender inside, that I will need a “fix” of it pretty much every week. I do love the sweet & spicy sauce (and the Korean radish salad that comes with it), but can easily eat this huge portion of chicken with no sauce at all.
For more information, call (813) 898-0277 or order online through UberEats or Postmates.
Oishi Express Sushi & Hibachi Grill
Another newcomer is the very tasty Oishi Express Sushi & Hibachi Grill, which opened last month in the space previous occupied by Luv Fresh (and Petra Mediterranean Express before that) at 17503 Preserve Walk Ln., Suite B, in the New Tampa Commons plaza.
Although they don’t put on the show by making your hibachi steak, chicken (photo), shrimp, salmon or veggies tableside, everything is freshly made to order and delicious, using quality ingredients.
Jannah and I also have enjoyed Oishi’s California roll, but be sure to try the thick-sliced red snapper sashimi — it’s excellent. Looking forward to trying more sushi, appetizers (I’ve only sampled the tasty gyoza dumplings so far) and even the chicken katsu. For info, call (813) 866-1300 or order online through UberEats or Postmates.— GN
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