Tampa >Food & Dining > Kaisen Sushi
12785 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL | Directions 3361828.063325 -82.503952
Food was good, but it took more than one hour for our first appetizer to show up even with a reservation. Atmosphere is so-so, really slow service. A little disappointed.
Decent food, afwul service – My wife and I went to Kaisen four times. Two times everything was pretty good. But the other two times the owner was rude and completely unprofessional. Not only did he lack even a basic understanding of customer service, he made his sushi in such a rush that it fell apart when we tried to pick it up!
The worst case was when we went there before the holidays. On Dec. 22nd, we got there at 8:30 pm. There was a note on the door saying they were closing early the next day and closed for Dec. 24th and 25th. Nothing was written about them closing early on Dec. 22nd, so we assumed they were open as usual, until 10 pm.
When we walked in, the owner was just plain stupidly rude. He didn't bother to greet us, but half-barked, "We're closed." I waited a second to hear if he'd a least have the decency to say why they were closing early when nothing was posted on the door, but all he added was, "Seriously." We walked out and won't be coming back.
If you still want to go there, you'd better hope they get your order right the first time. If they bring you completely the wrong thing, they not only won't apologize for it, but they'll just throw together your sushi so quickly and unprofessionally that the rice and fish won't even stick together. We've been eating sushi for years, and NEVER, not even at the cheapest, crappiest places, have been served sushi that was put together so poorly that it fell apart as soon as we went to pick it up. Again, we won't be going back.
Best of both worlds – Kaisen Sushi in Tampa is a restaurant where both the serious aficionado of authentic Japanese Cuisine and the family looking for some fun and tasty less traditional food will both go home very happy. Indeed, this is a very rare combination, usually you can have one or the other but not both. In fact, in the Tampa Bay area, authentic Japanese cuisine is almost non-existent. Other than Kaisen and possibly a few other places, the pedigree of many sushi serving establishments is of dubious question.
Kaisen is based on the Izakaya style of Japanese establishments. This means they serve small and affordable dishes that go well with sake, beer and the like, in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Some equate this style of restaurant to Japanese tapas. Another aspect of Izakaya style restaurants is most have a list of fresh special and unusual dishes on the wall that changes daily. Kaisen has a board with daily specials listed and also posts some of them on their website each day. In addition to the Izakaya style dishes, Kaisen sports a full menu of sashimi, sushi, appetizers and entrees. They also have a fine selection of sake and other beverages.
While Kaisen crafts some wonderful original sushi rolls and everything that comes out of their kitchen is first rate, high quality and very affordable, that’s not why I go there. I go for omakase. This is where you let the chef choose what to make you, and I can tell you first hand, Chef Ryo and the rest of the Kaisen staff do this very well. Over more than 50 omakase meals I’ve had there, I’ve never been disappointed. Some recent highlights have included steamed stripped bass roe, live whole aoyagi clam, fried halibut fin bones with salt and lime, a rice bowl with sea urchin, ika shiokara and salmon roe and toro sushi 3 different ways (seared, marinated and raw). Each dish served is designed to compliment the previous one, both in taste and texture. In my book, this is definitely the way to eat. Too bad most restaurants can’t pull it off like Chef Ryo and Kaisen.
My first choice for sushi – I've been eating at Kaisen since before they moved locations, and when they were still constructing I couldn't wait. The menu caters to veteran sushi lovers with a taste for the "authentic" as well as people who may be nervous about trying sushi for the first time. The wait for your sushi can be relatively long on busy nights because they seem almost understaffed during those rushes, but it's worth it.
This place is perfect for the habitual sushi lover, because you won't pay too much for someone to drizzle soy sauce in pointless patterns, or for "trendy" atmosphere; Kaisen is for sushi lovers, not sushi snobs!
WORST SUSHI SERVICE IN TAMPA. OWNER WILL ARGUE WITH, INSULT, AND EMBARASS YOU! – Ok tonight is my first and last time going to KAISEN SUSHI. The food was cheap, the service was lousy and everything was wrong. When we asked to speak to the OWNER, he came out and immediately became defensive. He then proceeded to ARGUE with myself and my dinnermates AFTER which he started to INSULT us then EMBARASS us! I Will never go here again, and FORGET THE GOOD RATINGS YOU SEE ONLINE. If you go here I can personally guarantee YOU WILL BE VERY DISSAPOINTED
awesome! – I tried to come here once but I didn't know they were still under construction, but a few weeks later I was so excited to find its doors open. There were only a handful of people in the restaurant so it was very peaceful and nice. I ordered the softshell crab as an appetizer and it was absolutely amazing. And when my sushi roll came out I was surprised that it was so big. Overall the food is great and the price is just as much so.
best sushi ever! – All of you that pay high price for fancy glitz and glamour are missing out on this fantastic restaurant. I have never had anything here I didn't love. I can even get non-sushi eaters to try Dog Ate My Homework and the Pizza Roll. Kaisen is small, but so are the prices...you should go here NOW!
Sushi Gem in the Rough – The exterior won't rock you but the sushi and sashimi will. Sit at the sushi bar, chat with the sushi chef and tell him what you like. Unbelievably good, compares favorably with Nobu in New York.
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