Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sashimi Over To Hula Bay

One of our favorite go-to places for lunch after a strenuous five mile hike through the paradise that is SOG City (south of Gandy) is the Hula Bay Club at 5210 West Tyson Avenue in Tampa. Whether we sit inside or outdoors on the deck, the views of Tampa Bay are spectacular.

It's also amusing to watch the pleasure boat traffic as the boaters queue up at the adjacent marina. I say amusing because we were once like them - owners of a boat - and observing the action on the water we are reminded of our two most happy boating moments: the day we bought the boat, and the even happier day we sold it.

On our return visit this past Saturday we chose to dine in air conditioned comfort at a booth in front of a large picture window. Michele brought us menus and took our drink orders - a couple of medicinal beers, please Michele. We took a pounding on our 90 gazillion degree hike today.

Colored pencil drawing - JLR
As the Hula web sites says, "...through our colorful bar and grill, our eclectic menu and the coolest servers and bartenders this side of the Bay ... we know there's nothing better than experiencing good food with good company at a place you can truly sit back and relax." We took their advice, sat back and relaxed.

In addition to a raw bar, Hula Bay features salads, sandwiches, great burgers, chicken, steak and seafood entrées. What really tempted my taste buds on this visit were the choices on the sushi sashimi menu.

For a food venue that doesn't exclusively serve these oriental delicacies, Hula Bay does a doggone fine job of preparation and presentation of both their sushi and sashimi dishes. On this visit, I chose three items from the nigiri list: the Ahi Tuna, Escolar (a rich white meat tuna), and the Tobikko Caviar served in cups made from hollowed out zucchini. As a side, I went with the Wakame Seaweed Salad.

When Michele presented my order I was almost reluctant to touch it - after-all, one doesn't mess with a work of art, does one?

Ultimately, hunger got the better of me, so I ate this masterpiece. And, I am glad, so there!

My dainty dining partner, the Belle of Ballast Point, chose another artfully prepared dish, the Hawaiian Citrus Salad - crisp greens with baby arugula, candied walnuts and roasted sunflower kernels, citrus and berry selections, and savory blue cheese with Hula's Hawaiian honey citrus dressing.

Said my bride, "It tastes as good as it looks, and it looks really good!"

In addition to good food, and a full bar, the Hula Bay Club showcases live music on a regular basis.

We keep returning primarily for the food, the drinks, and the ambiance but we have enjoyed the offerings of some highly talented musicians.

The Hula Bay reminds us of one of our other favorite places in south Tampa, the Green Iguana on Westshore (but without the waterfront view). Not surprising that they are sister restaurants.

Hula Bay Club Waterfront Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Hula Bay Club on Foodio54

Oh, pooh, I almost forgot - this wasn't a freebie. We paid for it all, and no one seemed to have a clue as to who we were. We are not paid reviewers, so there!

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