Friday, May 25, 2018
Dining

Family pitches in for Valrico takeout joint

Nikki Li's friends and co-workers thought she was crazy to fly from her native Brooklyn, N.Y., to Valrico to help her cousin, Lin Jian, open his first restaurant.

It's a long way to go to help a relative whose proposed menu wasn't fine dining as much as takeout dining with fine prices. Jian opened his Asian Kitchen May 30 in the Valrico Commons plaza, 1997 State Road 60, around the corner from Publix.

Though it offers some typical Chinese takeout that diners might expect, it also fuses Japanese cuisine such as hibachi grilled steak and jumbo shrimp dishes for $10.95 that Li said would go for more than $15 in New York City.

"It's a good price, fast service and a big amount of food," said Li, translating and speaking on behalf of her cousin.

The hibachi grill items come with housemade white sauce, and steak is cooked to order — similar to what you would expect from a full-service Japanese steak house, sans the show. The family-run business took just three months to build out, and Li said that he has seen sales grow every day as more residents discover the restaurant.

"One guy has been here three times already in four days, and he brought his girlfriend back," Li said.

"I was so surprised."

In addition to staples such as General Tso's chicken (lunch portions go for $5.25) and the popular crab rangoon (eight for $3.95), Asian Kitchen also offers daily specials written on a whiteboard.

Prices are generally $3 off main entrees, and portions are slightly smaller to encourage customers to try it before they buy a lot of it, Li said.

There are four tables for dining in, and meals are served on plates with silverware instead of paper and plastic. To celebrate their opening, the Asian Kitchen is offering a 10-percent discount coupon on its website, asiankitchen.m988.com. Call (813) 685-8880 for takeout.

Another Starbucks comes to Brandon

If it weren't already convenient enough to order a skinny Venti vanilla latte in Brandon, Starbucks has begun construction on a standalone store at Regency Square set to open in the fall. The company already offers its tongue-twisting beverages nearby, including two locations in the Westfield Brandon mall and one inside Target. There also are stores at 11029 Causeway Blvd. and 1265 E Brandon Blvd. near Mount Carmel Road. There were 6,866 Starbucks stores in the United States at the end of the 2012 fiscal year, about 400 in Florida. Only California, New York, Texas and Starbucks' home state of Washington boast more. There are more than 20,000 Starbucks locations globally.

Comments
Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

Birchwood owner will open a three-story restaurant and bar at St. Petersburg pier

ST. PETERSBURG ó Chuck Prather, owner of the Birchwood in St. Petersburg, returned from his daughterís Maine wedding this week with an exciting announcement of his own. On June 7 the St. Petersburg City Council is expected to sign off on him being on...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

New restaurants on the horizon: Metro Diner and Zoes Kitchen in Tampa, Trophy Fish and Oak & Stone in St. Pete

OPEN NOW: BAHAMA BUCK’S Feel a shiver? Just in time for Florida’s sultry summer, Bahama Buck’s opened this week in Trinity with an avalanche of sno. The 2,346-square-foot island-inspired shop opened at 8815 Mitchell Blvd. with more...
Published: 05/23/18
Restaurant review: Baytenders Oyster Bar & Steamer is a low-key, friendly spot to gather

Restaurant review: Baytenders Oyster Bar & Steamer is a low-key, friendly spot to gather

ST. PETERSBURG Brian Storman has had a long and colorful career in the Tampa Bay area. In the 1980s he had the insanely popular Storman’s Palace in Feather Sound, which in 2008 became the grownup playground "ultralounge" called the Venue (25,0...
Published: 05/21/18
Waltís Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

Waltís Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

A Sarasota seafood fixture is celebrating its 100th anniversary.Waltís Fish Market, Restaurant and Tiki Bar, 4144 S Tamiami Trail, will host a party at noon on Sunday complete with a mechanical shark, live music, live auctions, silent auctions, an al...
Published: 05/18/18
Food events this week: St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta, Brunched 2018, Sweet Corn Festival

Food events this week: St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta, Brunched 2018, Sweet Corn Festival

TACOS: AND BEER You can get the weekend started Friday evening at the St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta from 6 to 11 p.m. at Albert Whitted Park. It’s a serious all-star cast of food trucks: St. Pete Taco Lady, I Wanna Wok, Fiesta Bowls, Boom Boom...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
McDonald’s has ditched frozen patties for fresh beef, and we tried them

McDonald’s has ditched frozen patties for fresh beef, and we tried them

LARGO — Ray Kroc, fast food’s founding father, was a quotation machine. One of his doozies was, "We’re not in the hamburger business. We’re in show business." This month, McDonald’s show got a little more sizzle. In the...
Published: 05/16/18
Tarpon Springs culinary school graduate nabbed coveted spot on U.S. team for Bocuse díOr, the culinary Olympics

Tarpon Springs culinary school graduate nabbed coveted spot on U.S. team for Bocuse díOr, the culinary Olympics

TAMPAWhile the James Beard awards are the culinary Academy Awards, the Bocuse díOr is the culinary Olympics. Itís a biennial world chef championship historically dominated by France and other Western European countries. In 2017, the United States won...
Published: 05/15/18
Review: At charming C House in Tampa, all food starts with the letter C

Review: At charming C House in Tampa, all food starts with the letter C

TAMPARemember that game? "My father owns a grocery store and in it he sells something that starts with C?" All sexism aside (my mom could have owned a grocery store, no sweat), I killed at that game. Yes, it was because my family was cheap and did a ...
Published: 05/14/18
Need a last-minute Motherís Day reservation for Sunday? We got you covered.

Need a last-minute Motherís Day reservation for Sunday? We got you covered.

How do we express our love and gratitude to the women who brought us into this world? Clearly itís with brunch and bottomless mimosas. Many big brunch buffet go-toís are already fully booked by now, but hereís a potpourri of options that are still li...
Updated one month ago
Edison chef Jeannie Pierola will take over iconic Pachís Place location

Edison chef Jeannie Pierola will take over iconic Pachís Place location

TAMPA ó Al Pach, wearing a signature loud vest, would sit at the counter corner nearest the entrance and greet every regular by name. He was a fixture for years, since Pachís Place was established in 1992. Pach died in 2005 but Pachís Place lived on ...
Updated one month ago