The surf n’ turf roll at Blue Bamboo Sushi & Asian Cuisine is one of the most popular items on the menu.
After watching owner and chef Mike Tran assemble the dish, it’s easy to see why it might be a winner. It consists of tempura-fried Maine lobster, asparagus, lemon butter mayo, sweet soy crispy shallots, truffle oil and Asian herbs. The roll is topped with steak that Tran sears with a can of butane fuel for a little showmanship.
The finished product seriously looks like a work of art.
“I try to bring a little more life to this area,” Trans said of the local restaurant scene. “I love this place. I grew up here. I just want to bring my flavors to North Tampa.”
Tran has worked in the restaurant business for most of his life but Blue Bamboo, which he opened in late April, is his first stint as an owner.
“I started off as a dishwasher,” said Tran, who previously lived in Minnesota. “ I watched my grandparents running their Chinese restaurant. … My skills go from Massachusetts all the way from Miami so I’ve worked with a lot of good chefs.”
Blue Bamboo sits in a quiet plaza on North Florida Avenue, not far from Bearss Avenue. The eatery specializes in sushi, but also includes dishes originating in Thailand, Japan, China and Vietnam.
Tran said many of his customers come from the Lutz and Lake Magdalene areas.
“We’re not doing too much advertising right now,” he said. “Everything is word of mouth.”
Some other highlights from the restaurant’s bill of are include the tempura Philadelphia sushi roll, which includes salmon and cream cheese with spicy mayo and eel sauce; tempura ice cream for dessert; and, from the appetizers section, the satay featuring marinated chicken on skewers and served with Thai peanut sauce and a side of pickled cucumbers.
“We try to have something on the menu for everybody,” Tran said.
14837 North Florida Ave.
Tampa, FL 33613
More bang for your buck: $3 sushi rolls can be had from 5-7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.