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Frankie’s Lobstah Trap has morphed into Sekushi at International Plaza

The 75-seat Japanese sushi and ramen bar does lunch and dinner in Tampa.
Sekushi has debuted at International Plaza in Tampa with six kinds of ramen.
Sekushi has debuted at International Plaza in Tampa with six kinds of ramen. [ Courtesy of Sekushi ]
Published Dec. 24, 2019

Frankie’s Lobstah Trap, the funky raw bar and grill at International Plaza, has transformed into Sekushi. Rolled out in October, the new Japanese sushi and ramen bar is owned by Las Vegas-based HIG Management, which brought Frankie’s to the Tampa shopping and dining hub in 2017.

Tampa marks the second Tampa Bay location for Sekushi. HIG Management partner Frank Manella said he and his partners David and Leon Wu, who created Sekushi, wanted to expand the concept beyond its flagship in Vegas, started about four years ago, and its Clearwater Beach outpost, Sekushi on the Beach, where chef-partner Viet Vo has been at the helm since the restaurant launched in 2018.

Related: Owner's seafood skills come to International Plaza

When the opportunity to open Sekushi in place of Frankie’s at 2223 N Westshore Blvd. came up, they brought in corporate chef Eric Ou and executive chef No Oo “Nono” Wai and made it happen.

“We did a nice build out with the Trap, so it was a really easy transformation,” Manella said.

The interior of Clearwater Beach's Sekushi on the Beach, where the vibrant, fun feel mirrors that of Sekushi at International Plaza in Tampa.
The interior of Clearwater Beach's Sekushi on the Beach, where the vibrant, fun feel mirrors that of Sekushi at International Plaza in Tampa. [ Courtesy of Sekushi ]

Sekushi, like Sekushi on the Beach, features patio seating and a vibrant, fun feel across 1,785 square feet. But aside from the sake, wine and beer, the 75-seat arrival slings a slightly different menu than its Pinellas counterpart, a dinner spot with one-off specialties such as pad Thai and duck confit, sake cocktails and lunch only during peak season.

Look forward to ramen and sushi for dinner at the Tampa location, including the signature Buccaneers roll (creamy fried shrimp, spicy tuna, cucumber, avocado, masago arare, micro cilantro), alongside hot and cold tapas, entrees and other snacks like bao and yakitori. According to Manella, Sekushi’s lunch eats — think bento boxes or sushi combos — are also popular with the daytime crowd.

Since arriving on the beach, Sekushi, the Japanese word for “sexy,” has built a local audience through everything from collaborative wine tastings to five-course vegan dinners requested by its customers. Manella said there are plans to open another location in the Tampa Bay area, though he was quiet about details.

The concept will debut its third outpost overall in April in Washington, D.C.

(813) 906-3219. sekushi-tampa.com.